What Makes an Inclusive Workplace?.

Inspiring Inclusion is this year’s theme of International Women’s Day. This means we need to continue to encourage the development of inclusivity in our workplaces.

Dawn McNally, Group Chief Executive of the Age UK North Tyneside Group explains, “The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is so important to both me personally and to the Age UK North Tyneside Group as an organisation. We aim to #InspireInclusion in everything we do. In fact, being inclusive is one of our eight core values.”

Older workers are now taking up more of the workforce than ever, at 32.6% according to The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). However, entering a workplace aged 50+ is becoming increasingly difficult. Lack of flexibility from employers makes it hard to retain and recruit older workers. Therefore, many employers are missing that vital skills gap that older workers offer. The CIPD has a report on making employment better through understanding the needs of older workers. This suggests that we need to enhance flexible work offering, offer ongoing support for mental health and wellbeing, and improve skills and training.

The Age UK North Tyneside Group recognises the invaluable skills of older workers. Closing a skills, knowledge, and experience gap is vital to create a successful, diverse workforce. This International Women’s Day, we know that to #InspireInclusion we need to recognise the importance of encouraging older women into the workplace with these support systems in place. It’s no secret that we pride ourselves on being Age Friendly, National Living Wage, and Equal Opportunities employers. But what does this mean?

Dawn explains this as “Older workers, and particularly older women, can often be marginalised and overlooked. We have always welcomed people of all ages, and we are proud to have many employees in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Last year, we cemented this commitment to older workers by signing the Age-friendly Employer Pledge.

“We are also an accredited Living Wage employer, meaning we are committed to paying all staff the real Living Wage for the real cost of living, regardless of age or gender. Our latest gender pay gap report found that our median gender pay gap is 0%, meaning women earn £1 for every £1 men earn.”

Making the most out of later life is not limited to our customers, it’s an ideal we hold in everything we do. The focus on employing those who have genuine understanding and appreciation of what older people can offer to society is important to us.

Dawn says “As a group, we are known for inspiring inclusion externally when supporting our customers. But it is equally important to inspire inclusion internally by building an inclusive and empowering company culture that raises up older women and supports them to achieve their goals.”

With the support of our Senior Leadership Team setting an example of this, staff feel supported and encouraged in their career development. Olga Storey, aged 79, is a Support Assistant with EveryDay and she echoes this in reflecting on how she feels working with the Age UK North Tyneside Group.

“I have been employed by EveryDay Care as a Support Assistant since the beginning of January 2023 and I must say that it has been an extremely enriching experience for me as an older employee. What I love about working for EveryDay Care is the people I work with and knowing that, whilst there is an obvious obligation to follow the guidelines, there is still the freedom to create a way of working without the need to be micro-managed in the knowledge that there are always Line Managers on-call to guide you. I have learned that EveryDay Care has a proactive approach to its employees’ well-being matter what their age. All employees are treated as equals.” As we continue to advocate for age inclusivity, we hope to inspire others to help make work environments more supportive of older female workers. You can sign the Age Friendly Employer Pledge and accredit yourself as a Living Wage Employer today to inspire inclusivity and make a difference

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