Figures from the latest independent research of 933 UK SMEs commissioned by Close Brothers Asset Finance and conducted by Lightspeed have found that despite SMEs overwhelmingly understanding the benefits of employing older workers most feel that the recruitment process discriminates against older workers. This is causing half of those polled to admit to already struggling to recruit the talent they need or to foresee problems in the future. According to the research, the larger the business, the bigger the concern becomes.
“Our research has found that in recruitment there is the sense that it’s not currently a level playing field between the generations, with 66 per cent of SME business owners of the view that the process favours younger workers,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “This sentiment is particularly strong in the engineering sector, which trends well above the national average at 76 per cent, and suffers from a significant skills shortage.
“It’s widely acknowledged that older workers bring with them valuable experience accumulated over the course of many decades, which comes with many attendant benefits for organisations. Positively, the findings also reveal that many businesses recognise that employing people with more experience is an opportunity to mentor and train those new to employment while also providing a level of stability and level headedness to the workplace.”
While 52 per cent of firms are comfortable with being able to recruit the talent they need in the coming five years, 35 per cent are predicting problems in the future and a further 13 per cent say they’re already struggling.