MONDAY 1 JUL 2024 3:00 PM


Esme Lim, account director at MSL UK, explores how to shift talent acquisition and employer branding strategies to appeal to a maturer workforce.

The modern workforce is undergoing a profound demographic shift. By 2050 30% of the global workforce will be aged 50 and older (Allianz). This change calls for a reimagining in how we approach talent acquisition and employer branding.  

Older workers have often been overlooked, perceived as being less adaptable or capable than their younger counterparts. The Chartered Management Institute's research revealed that only 42% of managers were open to hiring individuals aged 50-64, contrasting sharply with the 74% who were keen on recruiting those aged 18-34.  

But with job vacancies still exceeding pre-pandemic levels in the UK (ONS), leveraging this seasoned workforce offers a unique opportunity to address ongoing recruitment challenges. 

Consider the recent initiatives from companies like easyJet, who launched a campaign to recruit over-40s into cabin crew roles, actively welcoming mature talent. The company's recognition of the value that older workers bring, with their life experience and transferable skills, challenges misconceptions and sets a precedent for others to follow suit. Additionally, Halfords has also made strides in this direction by targeting retirees to fill open technician roles, acknowledging the diverse contributions that workers of all ages can make to their team.  

Research indicates that embracing age diversity isn't just a feel-good move; it's a strategic one too. A multi-generational workforce enriches cognitive diversity, fostering innovation and problem-solving by bringing together varied perspectives, experiences, and skills. Plus, it cultivates a culture of learning and mentorship, where knowledge is exchanged across generations, benefiting both seasoned employees and younger professionals alike. In fact, a survey by Randstad found that an overwhelming 90% of workers believe they can learn from colleagues of different ages and backgrounds. 

So, what does this mean for employer branding? 

Many employers have long had early talent strategies, with campaigns and employer branding initiatives designed to tap into the younger generation motivations. But, to successfully recruit an age diverse workforce companies need to reassess their employer branding strategies to attract, engage, and retain older talent. Here’s what to consider:  

Understanding your audience  

Adapting employer branding strategies to appeal to older workers requires a nuanced understanding of their priorities and preferences. Contrary to popular assumptions, many older individuals are not solely motivated by financial compensation. Instead, they seek roles that offer purpose, flexibility, connection and opportunities for continued growth and development. Organisations can leverage their employer branding efforts to showcase these aspects of their workplace culture, emphasising values such as respect, inclusion, and lifelong learning.  

Rethink your channels  

When it comes to targeting older candidates, your channel strategy needs to be reconsidered. While platforms like LinkedIn and social media typically take the spotlight in employer branding and recruitment marketing, they might not be the best fit for reaching this demographic. A recent report from 55/Redefined, titled "The Unretirement Uprising," revealed that only 16% of over-50s are active on LinkedIn. It's clear that relying solely on these platforms won't yield the desired outcomes. Instead, consider diversifying your channel strategy to tap into a wider audience. Explore alternative avenues for advertising job opportunities that resonate with older candidates and ensure your message reaches those who might not be present on mainstream digital platforms. 

Showcasing the value of experience  

Telling stories of older employees who have thrived within the organisation can be a powerful tool for attracting talent across generations. Highlighting the contributions and achievements of senior staff members sends a clear message that age is not a barrier to success within the company.   

Inclusive processes  

While there's a push for everything to be digital and mobile first to welcome Gen Z and Alpha into the workforce, providing alternative options may also be welcomed. For example, the opportunity to speak to a real human and ask questions, rather than an AI chatbot. Considering options for all audiences demonstrates the inclusive approach of an employer and is more likely to bring in a more diverse range of applicants.    

The age shift in today's workforce requires a re-evaluation of traditional approaches to employer branding. Embracing age diversity not only reflects a commitment to inclusivity and fairness but also brings tangible benefits to organisational performance.  By recognising the value of experience and adjusting our hiring practices, organisations can set themselves up for success in today's evolving workplace. At MSL, our insight-led approach means we're well placed to help our clients broaden their talent attraction audiences and create compelling campaigns that will resonate with them.