Quality recruitment

Aspire in Partnership’s workshops continue to go from strength to strength!

A pink box reading: Aspire in Partnership’s workshops continue to go from strength to strength! Age in the Workplace

As part of the Growth Company’s continuous improvement programme and in order to ensure services meet the needs of employers, we have recently been running a series of employer focus group sessions (the next one is on 12th June, please contact fern.goddard@gcemployment.uk for an invite).

During previous sessions, it became apparent that many employers struggle with aspects of Diversity & Inclusion. With this in mind, a series of workshops have been developed to tackle specific issues of the EDI agenda. The latest workshop was held online on 20th April, the topic was Age in the Workplace.

Prior to the workshop, employers were asked what specific challenges they face related to age in the workplace. The following  two challenges were chosen for discussion-


  • Employer A is an engineering company that employs 150 people in GM. They sell globally with a strong order book. Following a HR audit they have identified that 30% of their workforce is due to retire in the next five years. Their employees are loyal, with many long-serving members of staff so recruitment activity has been low for several years. They recognise this needs to change, but don’t really know where to start or how to focus their efforts in order to train new employees before other retire.
  • Employer B is a large organisation that provides a wide range of services to all areas of society. Having a truly representative workforce is a constant issue. For some time now, they have noticed that they are not receiving many applications from people over 50 years of age and the ones that do apply tend to not get far in the selection process. They would really like to address this problem as they know that older workers bring many benefits to the workplace.

Delegates were asked to discuss each challenge in groups, focusing on what they had done in their own organisations to tackle similar problems. Then each group presented to everyone what they had discussed.


Here is a summary of solutions that have been undertaken by employers-

  1. Use of social media, ensuring the right platforms are chosen to reach your intended audience (Insta & TikTok for younger generations, Facebook LinkedIn & Twitter for older).
  2. Work on building a workforce with a mix of age demographics. It was agreed by all that a mix of ages brings a more positive environment.
  3. Consider what additional support packages could be included. There are several on the market that provide discounts on a wide range of goods and services. GC uses Reward Gateway for this purpose.
  4. Think about whether you could provide access to counselling or mental health support. The DWP provides the Able Futures programme that’s free for employees and employers to use.
  5. Provide line manager training, particularly in areas such as unconscious bias and understanding the needs of categories of workers who may have caring responsibilities or health conditions.
  6. To get the next generation interested in your sector/ industry/ occupational area, consider engaging with schools and colleges. Bridge GM can support you with links to your local schools and colleges. You may consider going into the school to support enterprise initiatives, or offer work experience. Some employers also mentioned offering weekend work to school students as a way of identifying good talent for the future.
  7. One of the employers mentioned that they provide a Wellbeing Wednesday programme where additional support is offered.
  8. Encourage existing employees to leave reviews on Glassdoor or Indeed for job seekers to see. As we know, people are more motivated to leave reviews when they have something negative to say and this can leave others with an unfair impression of your organisation. Don’t be tempted to put them on all at once, establish a programme where a small number of reviews are done each month.

Following on from each challenge discussion, we heard from a panel of experts which included John Kiernan from the Centre for Ageing Better, Elayne Redford from Manchester City Council, Matthew Richardson from Business Growth Hub and myself, Adrian Bird from GC Employment. Many of the themes outlined above were present in the best practice, so it’s gratifying for employers to know they are on the right lines with their efforts!


Extra suggestions include-

  1. Regularly collect and scrutinise age-related data as part of the recruitment process. Are there certain age bands that are unwittingly favoured through your process?
  2. Consider intersectionality with other Protected Characteristics such as sexuality, ethnicity, or disability. Consult with staff to reduce negative impacts.
  3. Signal in job adverts that you’re willing to make reasonable adjustments where required.
  4. Include a statement emphasising your age-inclusivity.
  5. Think about the language you use in job adverts and frame them with care.
  6. Emphasise benefits that may be attractive to older workers.
  7. Include positive and realistic images on your website and in job promotion. The Centre for Ageing Better has an ‘Age-positive Image library’ that’s free to use.
  8. Have diverse interview panels and predefined questions and scoring mechanisms to mitigate the impact of potential age bias.
  9. If using cultural ‘fit’ criteria in your assessment, ensure that the criteria against which the ‘fit’ will be assessed is transparent, applied consistently across candidates and clearly communicated during recruitment.
  10. Ensuring that interviewing staff have the necessary skills to reduce bias and avoid discrimination.


John spoke about a new initiative called Good Recruitment for Older Workers (GROW). You can download their FREE guide here. He also mentioned the Age Friendly Pledge which is free to sign up to and provides a range of support to help you as an employer be more age-inclusive.

As you can see, a lot of information and discussion was packed into 2 hours, with very positive feedback from the employers who attended.

The next session in the series is on 18th May, on Ethnicity in the Workplace. To book your place, please click on this link and follow instructions. We look forward to seeing you there. Alternatively, if you face other EDI-related challenges or would rather a 1-1 conversation, please contact Adrian.bird@gcemployment.uk or call him on 07503620816.

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