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Employers must encourage older employees to take up digital skills

According to a survey by Business in the Community, some 62 per cent of workers in their 50s had not received training in computer skills.
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Companies must do more to upskill older employees that are not prepared for the digital economy.
According to a survey by Business in the Community, some 62 per cent of workers in their 50s had not received training in computer skills.

Only 25 per cent of employees aged 50-59, and 22 per cent of those aged 60-69, felt their employers encouraged them to take up new learning opportunities, compared to 44 per cent of 18-39 year olds and 32 per cent of 40-49 year olds.

Older workers were also more likely to feel that they were not kept informed about how technology would impact their jobs.

In addition, the survey discovered women and manual workers were less likely than younger employees to have received training in other crucial skills, including project management, customers service and digital communications.

Jenny Lincoln, age research and policy manager, Business in the Community, said: “Too few older workers are getting the training and information they need to prepare for increased automation and technology in the world of work.

“With a rising retirement age, and fewer young people entering the workforce, it’s vital that employers invest in training older workers so that they are equipped with both the skills and confidence to make the most of the digital age. By supporting older workers to be ‘digital adopters’ employers can show they value experience, ambition and ensure that their businesses are prepared for future skills shortages.”

The report recommends that businesses strive to create a company culture of lifelong learning, develop targeted training and clearly communicate the impact of automation and technology on jobs.

A recent report by McKinsey estimated that between 400m-800m individuals around the world could be displaced by automation by 2030. New jobs will be available, but people will need to find their way into these jobs, leaving 75m-375m to switch occupations and learn new skills.

This article is part of a wider campaign called the Scale-up Hub, a section of Real Business that provides essential advice and inspiration on taking your business to the next level. It’s produced in association with webexpenses and webonboarding, a fast-growing global organisation that provides cloud-based software services that automate expenses management and streamline the employee onboarding process.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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