'Vast untapped talent' | Why one firm wants to hire workers from THIS skills-rich demographic

Why one firm wants to hire workers from THIS skills-rich demographic

An accountancy firm is eyeing up ‘a vast, untapped talent pool’ of retired and mature workers as part of a new recruitment drive, which could give valuable workplace experience and mentorship to young staff.

The Times has reported that Azets, the UK’s largest regional accountancy and business advisor to SMEs, wants to “tap into the mature jobs market to fill at least 10 per cent of its 650 job vacancies over the next year.”

The firm, which currently has around 6,500 employees, reportedly hopes to benefit from mentoring and reverse mentoring between staff of different ages and levels of experience. It is offering recruits full-time and part-time contracts and the ability to “work from anywhere”, with positions available in its audit, tax and business advisory divisions, The Times said.

Anna Murphy, Head of Group Resourcing at Azets, said: “While it’s common for top firms to focus only on hiring and developing young, ambitious trainees, there is a vast, untapped talent pool of retired people and those looking to return to work after a break who often aren’t ready to retire or want to progress in their careers while being able to fit work around other commitments.”

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Azets’ recruitment strategy marks a move away from the industry’s traditional headhunting. Statistics show that the financial services sector takes on nearly a fifth of all graduates entering the labour market, and around 17%  of all apprentices in England and Wales.

As reported by the Times, research from the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales found that annual output across the sector would be 12% higher, or £38billion annually by 2038, if skills gaps were plugged.

Mature recruits could plug talent shortage

With the impending skills shortage worrying Britain at present, businesses need to implement strategies to retain and upskill their workforce, and taking on older, more experienced workers could provide a much-needed boost.

But according to data released in Workforce’s 2019 Ageism in the Workplace Study, the number of age-related discrimination charges filed with employers and the EEOC by workers aged 65-plus doubled from 1990 to 2017.

The same study noted that 44% of employees reported that they or someone they knew had experienced age discrimination in the workplace, whilst 21% said they had faced age discrimination themselves.

Change our thinking about changing jobs

Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager – Fulfilling Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, explained some key elements in achieving better age inclusion to HR Grapevine.

“We need opportunities to change jobs no matter our age, whether to progress, take on new challenges, or balance work with other needs,” Thomson said, who noted that often, age and perceived seniority can prevent older workers from being able to transform their own career.

“People need to move, up, down or sideways based on where they are in their life or their career, but they are often stuck because they are seen as too experienced, set in their ways, or lacking potential,” he explained.

As such, HR and employers should look to transform biases and therefore their mindset when reviewing the potential for older candidates.

The concept of someone being ‘too experienced’ or ‘too old to learn new skills’ is untrue and potentially discriminatory.

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