Aging workforce problems

Posted on 6 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

SEMTA, the Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, has recognised the challenges posed by, and felt by, an aging industrial workforce.

SEMTA have been working in collaboration with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to produce a booklet which will guide and advise manufacturing organisations on how to comply with age discrimination regulation as well as how to ensure an age diverse workforce that will nurture future growth.

The SEMTA publication is titled “Age isn’t an issue” encourages not only equality for job applications and opportunities within the workplace but also encourages employers to be even handed in the way they make vocational training, flexible working and continuous professional development available.

The full guide “Age isn’t an issue” is available at

Given the widespread industry concern over a skills gap which could hamper the UKs competitive capabilities it is critically important that employers continue to develop the skills of the existing workforce and facilitate knowledge transfer when younger employees join their organisations. The food and drink industry is a prominent example of an industry sector which is currently relying on an ageing workforce to support future growth. This has meant that in addition campaigns to promoting the industry as a career destination for bright young talent – through initiatives like McCain’s Potato Bus and the establishment of the Eden International Dairy Academy – it has been necessary to give attention to the constant upskilling of the workforce.

Older workers bring with them a wealth of knowledge, valuable skills, ideas and experiences. Companies are increasingly seeing the benefits of an age diverse workforce, and this can be encouraging for younger workers too, as they benefit from fellow colleagues expertise.

In collaboration with Semta the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have developed a tailored version of the “Age isn’t an issue” guide, specifically focusing on the challenges and opportunities faced by employers within the science, engineering and manufacturing technologies sectors. This comprehensive guide provides guidance on a range of workforce issues including recruitment, development, flexible working, and retirement.