Age diversity and the workforce

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20 / 7 / 2015 12.37pm

According to a recent study by charity, Age UK, the number of people aged over 65 is expected reach 16 million by the end of the next decade.  What does this mean for the NHS workforce? From a workforce and talent management perspective this scenario provides an opportunity for the NHS to make the the most of the skills and expertise that all ages bring to their workforce. 

This month we wanted to highlight how NHS organisations can work towards advancing workforce age diversity.

Key facts, figures and information

In terms of workforce planning, NHS Employers produced an age in the NHS info graphic last month showing the age profile of the overall NHS workforce.  This revealed some interesting statistics, such as, 6 per cent of the NHS workforce is aged 25 or under and 53 per cent of staff between the ages of 35-54.

The February 2015 CIPD report encourages employers to recruit, retrain and retain older workers to make sure they are not missing out on their skills and experience.

The NHS working longer group reported that the health service as an employer has to tackle a wide variety of challenges which health professionals face as they age. This includes deteriorating eyesight and motor skills (a concern of surgeons); the physical strain of lifting and handling patients (cited by nurses); the risks associated with working in hazardous work environments (noted by paramedics) and the stress of working in an increasingly taxed health service (mentioned by almost everyone). Find out more about the work of the NHS working longer group.

According to a report by the UK Commission on Employment and Skills

, the number of health professionals needed over the next decade is set to increase by 13.4 per cent, and engaging older staff will be key to meeting increased skills demands.

The June 2015 CIPD report explores the need to develop the next generation of staff to meet business and learner needs. 

Tips and examples of good practice

• An interesting presentation by Katrina Pritchard & Rebecca Whiting titled ‘Weary Women: Re-constructing retirement in the 21st century - Baby Boomers and the Lost Generation: On the discursive legitimacy of generations at work’ 

• Richard Tompkins, Director, NHS Wales Employers & Andrea Hester, Head of Pensions and Reward, NHS Employers addresses the impact of our ageing workforce  at a recent conference

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