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55/Redefined 2022 Manifesto: Call to Arms to Stamp Out Ageism

As we look ahead to 2022 and all of the work we have to do, we wanted to share with you our manifesto for the new year and also a list of actions we hope you’ll join us in as we set out to take the world on a journey and prove that success, happiness and possibility have no age limit.

We’ve had an exciting first few months since 55/Redefined launched in September. As we look ahead to 2022 and all of the work we have to do, we wanted to share with you our manifesto for the new year and also a list of actions we hope you’ll join us in as we set out to take the world on a journey and prove that success, happiness and possibility have no age limit.

It’s our mission here at 55/Redefined to embody a movement and champion change at a societal and policy level. We powerfully reject the common stereotypes and prejudices that create barriers to what one can achieve over 50. Whilst people accept getting older means getting wiser, we believe that it also means being bolder and more dynamic in our decision making and demanding more from life.

55/Redefined is the UK’s champion for the over-55s. We’re a disruptor. We’re here to challenge the status quo. We reject the idea that the most dynamic part of life is before 55. We advocate for age diversity, positivity and inclusion across all areas of life.

We aim to inspire and support this cohort in whichever way you need.

We are for the vibrant, thrill-seeking, healthy, young-minded, future-focused, on-the-pulse, passionate, fun-loving, who have that you-bet-your-ass-I-can-do attitude who want to be a part of it.

Here we are setting out a few of our key focuses for the year ahead and we hope you’ll join us.

1. Invest in Training Over-55s

While businesses have been quick to capitalise on the estimated $15 trillion of spending power of people over 60, they have been much slower to react when it comes to what this may mean within their own workforces. If you look around you can see many have introduced robust systems and processes for company transition and career development, but there’s a missing piece of the puzzle for many where ‘career transition’ sits, particularly for older workers.

A study 55/Redefined commissioned in partnership with ProAge (a UK charity for age diversity in the workplace), entitled ‘Shut out, forced out and overlooked’, examines the level of ageism experienced among the older workforce. We found that over-55s are undervalued in the workplace, with only 30% of employers ‘very motivated’ to recruit 55–75-year-olds; meanwhile, figures from the Department for Work and Pensions reveal more than 790,000 people aged between 50 and 64 years are actively seeking work, or are inactive but are willing or would like to work.

And while 90% of employees aged 55-65 believe they have transferable skills to move role and/or industry if the employer was prepared to offer technical training, this type of mobility is hampered with only 35% of employers prepared to offer technical training and hire over-55s into a new industry or role discipline to anything they have previously been working in.

There needs to be increased Government support to address the high level of unemployment in this demographic and to convince employers of the value of older, more experienced workers.

2. Stamp Out Age Unconscious Bias

By 2050, the under-55 working-age population will have shrunk by around 20% in Western countries. The population of over-60s in the same timeframe will grow by 40%, so forward-thinking firms that tackle ageism and capitalise on the value of older workers now will be the winners.

55/Redefined’s research is a window into the extent of ageism in the workplace, and highlights the need to address the challenge with real willingness to change. With ageing populations, we must learn to adapt from a youth-based employment culture and harness the power of employees who are extremely talented, skilled and experienced.

It is critical that employers place age at the heart of their HR practices alongside gender, race and other diversity initiatives. This is one of the key reasons why we launched 55/Redefined, we want to offer a platform to help over-55s find high-value job opportunities.

For employers we offer targeted recruitment of over-55s to move role, return back into the workplace from retirement or re-skill for a new role. We combine this with training, age-awareness accreditation, assessment solutions and unconscious age bias training

At 55/Redefined we offer Age Aware Accreditation. It includes a charter of positive actions and commitments that employers take to support over-55 workers. Part of the accreditation include e-learning on age unconscious bias to improve education and reduce bias amongst hiring managers, HR and recruitment teams.

Age Inclusive employers play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better and challenging age discrimination. They are changing behaviour and cultures in their own businesses, networks and communities, and reaping the benefits of inclusive recruitment practices.

This scheme helps employers recruit and retain great people, and:

  • Draw from the widest possible pool of talent
  • Improve employee morale and commitment by demonstrating that you treat all employees fairly and will continue to create new opportunities or flexibility for your workforce as they grow older
  • Demonstrate your commitment to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) initiatives building a sustainable, resilient, and purpose-led organisation.
  • It also helps customers, prospective employees and other businesses identify those employers who are deeply committed to equality in the workplace.

3. Think Outside of the Box When it Comes to Opportunity and Flexibility

The notion of a ‘job for life’ has faded in the last decade. We are living longer than ever yet have an outdated approach to life that sees it in three limiting stages – education, career and retirement. A multi-stage life approach needs to be adopted as a 60-year career is simply unsustainable.

It’s an issue well explained in Lynda Gratton’s and Andrew Scott’s award-winning business book: The 100 Year Life. While people are becoming more conscious of their lengthening working lives, there’s increasing frustration about the rigidity of outdated models that leave people without options when it comes to their later life careers and places a burden on economies.

Many employees at 55-plus are still highly ambitious and simply become bored or frustrated by the lack of challenge and leadership opportunities available as they reach the 55-year milestone. Many employers assume ambitions have declined with age which is simply untrue as 66% of respondents would re-skill with their current employer and 34% said they were keen for different challenges in their existing role. By offering the same engagement in career development as younger employers there is a great opportunity to retain talent who just happen to be over 55.

Talented and energetic over-55s are keen to try a new phase of their career, embark on something new or investigate a real passion or interest. 85% of respondents in our study felt they had transferable skills to take to a new role or sector and 49% of over 55s were interested in re-skilling and changing role/industry with a new employer.

With many 55-plus workers having spanned 30 years in employment many are simply looking for a little flexibility to continue to work many more productive and profitable years whilst allowing additional opportunities to pursue other interests. Offering reduction to four days a week, retention of older workers becomes instantly achievable.

4. Live Life to its Fullest and Share Inspiring Stories of all Over-55s

Our goal is simple: to shatter age-related stereotypes and create a world where our years do not define us. We reject the idea that the most dynamic part of life is before 55. In order to create meaningful change, we ask you to join us in sharing the stories and showcasing the lives of entrepreneurs, leaders, creatives, philanthropists, scientists, lobbyists, everyday people, and more, who all, after the age of 55, are living their most-fulfilled lives.

Furthermore, we are a place for the vibrant, thrill-seeking, healthy, young-minded, future-focused, on-the-pulse, passionate, fun-loving, who have that you-bet-your-ass-I-can-do attitude who want to be a part of it. Don't believe limiting stereotypes about this age group, who despite what some brands and minds would have us think, do indeed want to enjoy life at this amazing stage. From fashion to fitness, home to health, and more, let's seek out only the best options across all areas of life and show that with age it doesn't necessarily mean slowing down.

In Conclusion

“Ageism is clearly still a reality for many,” says Lyndsey Simpson, CEO 55/Redefined. “At a time when we are all living and working longer, it is in all our interests to stamp out this unfair and unacceptable discrimination. Worryingly, both the findings of our study and the messages flooding our inbox every day, reveal that age discrimination is being perpetuated by the people that control HR policy and standards. HR leaders and CEOs must address this issue urgently, realising the talent and ambitions of older people - bringing age bias in the workplace to an end.”

This is our call to arms as we head in 2022. We hope you’ll join us in the actions to bring about the change needed.

To download the full research report ‘Shut Out, Forced Out and Overlooked’, please click here.

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