Insight: Are we losing a generation of skills?

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A recent poll of UK CEOs has uncovered a worrying ‘neglected generation’ of older workers. This new research, commissioned by Skillsoft, reveals that 92% of UK business leaders openly admit they don’t invest in training and development for employees over the age of 60.

With many employees now choosing to work past the traditional retirement age of 65 to make up the shortfall in pension pay-outs, UK businesses are overlooking valuable skills and opting not to invest in this growing generation of older workers. 

Kevin Young, general manager, EMEA at Skillsoft, said: “Two billion people will be over 60 by 2050, many of whom will remain in employment for longer, so organisations need to re-think their training plans to accommodate this growing ageing workforce.  The older generation can add so much value to an organisation with their experience, and failing to complement this with the latest key training, could potentially damage the future development of any business.

“With nearly 85% of British bosses not considering training the over 60s as a priority, the problem appears more deep rooted than just a short-term cost-cutting exercise. Changes to the retirement age and uncertainty over pensions means that many over 60s want to work longer and remain an integral part of a company for years to come,” concludes Young.

Whilst nearly half (43.1%) of the 503 UK CEOs surveyed claim to invest in training of staff of all ages, the reality is that this isn’t happening, with only 8% of bosses admitting to investment in training for staff over 60. Big business is generally to blame, with three quarters of smaller companies (500 employees) most likely to invest in training for all and less than half of larger businesses (<1,500) prepared to spend on employee development.

“British businesses are putting their future at risk by not investing in the older generation and this potential change in employee demographics should be a catalyst for businesses to rethink their training solutions and budget allocation before a wider skills gap emerges,” continues Young.

The UK study, conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of Skillsoft, surveyed 503 CEOs of businesses with more than 250 employees, across 13 business sectors.

A detailed analysis of the research can be found in the latest Skillsoft whitepaper entitled ‘CEO perspectives on people: leadership, recruitment and skills’ which can be downloaded from http://www.skillsoft.com/emea/documents/Research_Whitepaper_A4.pdf

About Jon Kennard

Jon Kennard is a freelance writer and social media manager, and former editor of TrainingZone.co.uk.

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