A positive approach to working late!
This week celebrates Age Positive week. Over 50,000 staff across the UK are taking an anti-ageist stance and urging other employees to do the same. Here in Guernsey, with more and more people working past retirement age, events like these are intended to be positive dates in the calendar to promote open employment systems, but what is it really like in practice?
Local recruitment agency AP Group has seen a steady growth in over 50s registering and the group actively promotes the skills that the more mature employee brings with them. As director of AP Personnel Jennifer Hallam says: ’Many companies acknowledge the fact that the more senior candidate can offer maturity and reliability in addition to having the relevant skills and knowledge.’
The recruitment agency currently has 300 candidates aged 50 or over on their books in Guernsey, which breaks down further to reveal 163 over 55 years old and 61 aged over 60.’It’s important that those seeking work do not look at their age as a disadvantage; we try to assure candidates that clients are looking for the right person with the appropriate skill set and experience for the job and that age is not the deciding factor,’ Jenny concludes.
AP Group will never turn an individual away because of their age. Senior consultant Nicole Arundale says: ’Some older candidates come to us feeling very frustrated; many over 60s are fit and active and want to work. Whilst we can’t promise to secure a job for every individual, if the candidate is realistic about what type of work they want, then we will do our utmost to help,’ she says.
It is more likely that candidates will be employed as temporary or contract staff when they are past a company’s retirement age, but many organisations are crying out for the more mature staff member to fill specific positions.
However, it is not all good news. Manager of AP Commercial Andrew Cullen says: ’It’s often much harder to place older candidates in commercial environments because of the physical nature and demands of some of the work involved.’
Age legislation comes into effect in the UK in October and, whilst it is not enforceable here in Guernsey, most businesses in the Island follow best practice when it comes to discrimination. The working population is genuinely becoming older and whatever happens with Guernsey employment laws, AP Group will always encourage OAPs (Older AP Personnel)!