With all the press recently about the removal of the retirement age and how to manage an older workforce, an employer may have found it difficult to balance out the needs of the mature with those of younger workers. Some people are asking, if we are so concerned about doing right by the older generation of workers, where do we find time and space to fit in the younger workers? Indeed, the news has focused on the amount of young people who are unemployed as a result of the world's economic woes.

A lesson learnt from recessions of the past is that a reluctance to hire and train new staff means that when the recovery does come, there will be a distinct lack of middle tier workers in many professions. This recession has had an affect on the amount of older workers staying on the job to help ensure their financial futures and therefore this has further lessened the need to employ and train younger staff.

Research has shown that trade union membership seems to be dominated by older males. These people have been lobbying for their cases over the past years and are seeing the fruits of their labour now. This means that the voice of the younger generation of workers is a lot quieter than it now needs to be. Employers have a special responsibility to help and to listen to younger workers. It is in doing this that the employer can help its business to succeed in the long run.

A prudent employer should align its overall business objectives with its plans for the recruitment and retention of staff. It should consider what staff and what experience may be needed in order to successfully pursue its goals. Does it have these people in place or is it likely to come the time they are needed. If the answer is no then it probably needs to reconsider its policies. Employers should remember that in taking care to follow its internal procedures and those required by statute, its decisions to hire are unlikely to be held as discriminatory. Where there is a valid reason for the decision to employ a certain individual and fair procedures have been followed, the business should be protected from negative litigation.

Despite the increased focus on the older generation of workers in the press at the moment, employers should continue to pursue a reasoned and fair approach to recruitment and retention. This way they protect the future of their business strategically and offer the right people for the job the role. Crucially, it will mean that the employer is also upholding its duties in terms of equality and diversity in the workforce also. ACAS offers guidance on maintaining a equal and diverse workforce as well as information on the creation of staffing policies.

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