How Working With Older People Can Help You Get Ahead

The Queen is probably the poster girl – if you can call the Queen such a thing – for a current workplace gripe: older people hanging onto their roles at the expense of those coming up behind them.

Of course, the Queen’s role is somewhat unique, but we’ve heard this kind of thing before: “Young people’s earning power ‘scarred’ by older workers staying longer in same job” is just one newspaper headline in recent years.

But is it true? And, what does the young, ambitious careerist have to do to get ahead in today’s labour market? First let’s feast our eyes on a few facts and figures:

Just how many older people are in work right now?

  • The number of over 65s employed in the UK has doubled since 2004 to 1.14 million DWP figures show
  • However, the CIPD says, the median figure for employees over the age of 65 is just 1%!
  • But, over 30% of people in employment in the UK are over the age of 50
  • And, as the population ages it’s estimated that by 2020 a third of the workforce will be over 50

So what’s happening to the younger workers?

  • The UK will need to fill 13.5 million job vacancies in the next 10 years – the Government reckons, based on current employer plans
  • But, only 7 million young people will be leaving school and college
  • While an increase in retirees from 2.9 million to 5.4 million by 2033 is actually going to put extra burden on younger generations – Ros Altman the Government’s older workers’ champion found

In contrast to sensational news reports intergenerational working can be very positive –

  • With 55% of HR managers citing knowledge-sharing as a key intergenerational work benefit
  • While, different perspectives were valued by 72% of employees in intergenerational workplaces

But technology know-how and ambition can be key dividers…

  • With a PwC report on Millenials revealing that 34% thought their personal drive was intimidating to other generations
  • This backs up a recent CMI study which found 63% of young people would like to manage a team
  • While, almost half of Millenials felt their managers did not always understand the way they used technology at work
  • And, 63% of older workers said they expected workplace tensions to increase when Generation Z  joined their company, according to imaging and electronics company Ricoh

Opportunities are out there!

  • An estimated 1 million new managers will be needed by 2020 according to stats
  • Yet, management positions are the hardest to fill. With almost half of businesses focusing recruitment efforts on those roles, City & Guilds research found!

A couple of ideas on how young workers might make themselves management material…

  • Ambitious young workers should seek to connect with older colleagues and learn from their experiences and know-how – something which sets them apart from their counterparts when it comes to management roles
  • On the other hand as a tech-savvy, younger worker why not share your understanding and experience with less tech-confident co-workers? A bit of reverse mentoring will build bridges, help you to understand people better and look great on your CV!

And, if you need a little career support along the way Angel is here.

Next Steps: Got any thoughts on intergenerational working? Or are you looking to up your game and need some real-life help? If so let us know!

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