Profile your workforce by age


Age profiling allows you to take a clearer look at the age of your workforce now, and in the future, at an organisational, departmental or team level. Use our interactive tool to profile your workforce by age, helping you predict trends and identify areas where there may be a higher likelihood of retirement requests in the future, and where you need to consider retirement conversations. Our age and whole time equivalent analysis tool also shows you the distribution of full and part-time workers across your workforce.

"Age profiling your organisation and departments and teams is an important part of understanding the age demographics of your workforce and where you may need to focus attention."
Richard Tompkins, Director, NHS Wales Employers

Why use age profiling?

  • To identify work areas with a high average age.
  • To help plan for retirements and how you will recruit or retain staff.
  • To highlight patterns and trends across your workforce.
  • To assist with workforce planning.
This means you can use workforce planning, along with increasing awareness of flexible retirement, to make sure that your organisation is succession planning, which protects the provision of care services in the future.

"Workforce planning is crucial to ensuring your organisation is ready to face the challenges of an ageing workforce.  Some of these changes may seem some way off, but it is important to start planning for them now." 
Tony Crabtree, Assistant Director of HR, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust

How to use the age profiling tool

Age profiling is not a one-off exercise. It should be part of a comprehensive workforce planning process that will raise questions for your organisation to consider, and can help inform decision making going forward. It needs to be an ongoing process and a source of information for continual improvement.

It is particularly important for managers to have accurate information when discussing future career and retirement plans with staff. The NHS Pension Scheme allows for a range of flexible retirement options that will be attractive to staff. 

Our interactive age profiling tool is simple to use and gives clear results. 

Gather age data

It is important to gather age profile data on an organisational, departmental or team by team basis, so that analysis can identify where actions are most needed. The basic data you will require is the number of people you employ and the number of joiners and leavers in each age group. The tool shows the age groups you should seek data on. 

Analyse the data 

The tool allows you to plot the numbers of staff currently in post, and numbers of leavers and joiners for each age group. You need to overwrite the example data in blue to give results for your organisation. The tool then indicates future patterns for your organisation.

Using the tool

You need to include at least one year's worth of data, however, we recommend using average data from a number of years to ensure your results are stable. For example, if you were to use data from just one year, and have a far higher number of joiners than leavers in one age group in that year, this may lead to unrealistically high future predictions for that age group. 

The graph included within the tool shows how you can use an age profile projection to see what your organisation's profile would look like over time if no changes were made. The tool is a static model in that it does not forecast actual outcomes, but suggests possible patterns.

Age and whole time equivalent analysis 

Our age and whole time equivalent analysis tool shows you the distribution of full and part-time work across your workforce, which used with regular workforce planning can help you to understand general trends.

It is important to know how your organisation is taking advantage of the opportunity to offer access to flexible working arrangements. For this reason, you may wish to plot the age profile of individuals against the hours that they are contracted to work or the hours actually worked. 

The tool will help you to establish whether there is a relationship between part-time or full-time contracted hours and age, and also look at how flexible or reduced hours are available to different age groups.  

Simply add the age and whole time equivalent data for each employee into the tool, and the scattergram will plot the age of your staff against their contracted whole time equivalent. Add as many columns as you need.

Age profiling using the Electronic Staff Record (ESR)
You are also able to age profile through ESR. Within ESR Business Intelligence (ESR BI), there are a number of tools to provide you with an overview of your workforce by age. For example, you are able to look at:

  • headcount for your organisation by age band
  • the number of staff who are approaching retirement age – this allows you to identify how many staff will reach an age specified by you over the next 12 months, broken down by staff group, pay scale, gender or organisation
  • absence rates by age band.
For more information on how to utilise the free and easy to use functionality of ESR BI, please visit the ESR website or contact your NHS ESR Account Manager.

Here's what I did...

Our shared learning web page includes an example from City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, find out how they have used age profiling to assess the impact of retirement on specific work areas where the average age is higher than others.

Let us know how you've used age profiling in your organisation, get in touch.

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