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Age awareness is not simply about knowing the age of your workforce, it is about making sure that age awareness reaches beyond usual employment practice. 

Using an understanding of the age demographics across your organisation to inform effective workforce planning, and making sure that age diversity is promoted and understood is key. Over time, age awareness should become a thread that runs through all policies, practices and operational matters. 

The resources in this toolkit are intended to be used on an ongoing basis and continually reviewed to make sure you are able to regularly track improvements and continue action planning for success.  
It is recommended that HR directors lead on this work, working in partnership with other colleagues, departments and trade unions to complete the various steps in the process. Following the steps within the toolkit, and reviewing these on a regular basis, will help you ensure your organisation is prepared.  

The resources will help you to:

  • assess your workforce demographics and your organisational readiness for the opportunities and challenges an ageing workforce will bring 
  • plan for the future and support you to raise awareness of the issues your organisation may encounter as the workforce ages
  • embed these actions to make sure practices or policies within your organisation reflect workforce demographics of the future. 
"Raising awareness of the challenges and opportunities of an ageing workforce is vital to enabling and supporting staff to continue to provide excellent and compassionate care as they work to a later, raised retirement age."
Rachael Charlton, Working Longer Group Employer Side Chair, East Cheshire NHS Trust


This toolkit includes a number of resources which are intended to support you in a process of continual improvement.

  • Age profiling tool – enables you 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.  You can also use our age and working hours analysis tool to show you the distribution of full and part time work across your workforce. 
  • Checklist to assess organisational readiness including action planning – designed to help you assess how age aware your organisation currently is and to help you action plan for the future. 
  • Senior management team presentation slide pack – The template slides contain national information relating to workforce demographics, pension scheme changes and information about the Working Longer Group (WLG). This resource can be tailored to add in details of your workforce demographics and local information about strategies to support your staff to work to a later, raised retirement age. This will help you to help raise the profile of the ageing workforce with your senior team.
  • Engagement approaches – includes learning from NHS organisations, and a range of suggested approaches for you to consider when planning your own engagement with employees, senior management and trade union colleagues. There is also a useful checklist for planning an engagement event.

The WLG has produced other resources to support you, including a range of factsheets on the retirement flexibilities which are available within the NHS Pension Scheme. There is also a library of relevant research and publications.


In October 2014, the WLG was formally commissioned to deliver a body of work based on the 11 recommendations made in the preliminary findings and recommendations report, designed to support staff and employers to work to a raised retirement age. 

The toolkit has been produced by the WLG which is a tripartite partnership group between national recognised NHS trade unions, NHS employers and health department representatives across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The toolkit will also assist organisations in their ratings and action planning work for the Equality Delivery System EDS2 (England only).

Further information on the WLG can be found on our WLG web pages.

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