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22 January 2016

Age Action Alliance Employer Toolkit

The Employer Toolkit, published by the Age Action Alliance, is a new interactive resource, offering guidance for managers of older workers.  The information available details how employers can better manage their workforce, and by doing so, how they can capitalise on the UK’s changing demographics.
The Toolkit includes information relating to the 3 ‘R’s highlighted by the Government’s former Business Champion for Older Workers, Dr Ros Altmann CBE. These are retaining, retraining and recruiting older workers. Information is also included on a range of other topics including legal requirements, knowledge management and flexible working arrangements. Unfortunately the guidance makes no mention of pay – and yet the gender pay gap is at its widest for older women.
As EqualPayPortal’s submission to the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry in to the Gender Pay Gap shows, legislative moves to equalise opportunities for women were late in arriving, and slow to mature. Moreover, rather than seeking from the outset to rebalance opportunities between men and women, Britain has tended to rely upon an expansion of the part-time labour market, an expansion which has had the effect of restricting the choices available to working women, thereby reinforcing gender inequality. This means that throughout most of the past fifty years, women and men have entered the labour market on different terms. This has not been a free choice (for either women or men), but a response to how the labour market has been structured.  
You can read the full submission here.
A woman has to be over 40 to have benefitted from even the most basic advances towards equality, and only women in their 20s will have benefitted from all the advances in equalities legislation and employment protection. It’s not too late to redress the inequalities experienced by older women, but they do need to be brought into the conversation. The guidance in the Employer Toolkit is currently available on a general level, and further information will be released to reflect the realities of working within different sectors – let’s hope the Alliance takes to heart the need to improve support for older women, not just as carers, but also as people with ambition, and to pay them accordingly.  

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