2 April 2024

Darlington Building Society has signed the Age-friendly Employer Pledge, a nationwide programme launched by the Centre for Ageing Better to improve the recruitment, retention and development of older workers.

A recent poll commissioned by Ageing Better reveals the scale of ageism in the workplace and demonstrates the urgent need for action. More than a fifth (21%) of UK adults aged 50+ indicated that since turning 50, they had regularly experienced ageist attitudes in the workplace or when applying for roles. And while approximately two thirds (64%) agreed they would feel comfortable in reporting ageist behaviour in the workplace, less than half (42%) said they would be confident any complaint would be taken seriously.

Sky-high labour and skills shortages are one of the biggest challenges facing our economy today- the latest ONS statistics revealed over one million vacancies in the final quarter of 2022-3. And with an ageing population, older workers can play a vital role in overcoming this. It has never been more important for employers to become age-friendly and take advantage of older workers’ skills and experience.

By signing the pledge, Darlington Building Society is demonstrating its support to tackling ageism in the workplace and committing to taking at least one action a year to improve the way they recruit, manage and support older workers. Under the initiative, the Society will also identify a senior sponsor for age-inclusion within their workforce and ensure that age is specifically named within Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies.

Helen Easton, Director of People & Culture at Darlington Building Society said:

“Darlington Building Society is proud to be joining other leading organisations in taking action to help older workers flourish in the workplace. Committing to the Age-friendly Employer Pledge underlines our commitment to employees of all ages.

“For various reasons, the ‘typical career path’ has changed immeasurably in modern times; people are working longer, changing careers later and putting their journeys on hold to commit to young family time before re-entering the workforce at a later date.

“As part of our extensive equality, diversity and inclusion strategy we believe that careers can begin, grow and flourish at any stage of life, and we fully support all colleagues on their individual journeys.”

Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“The pledge has been designed to support businesses to go on a journey at a pace that works for them. By taking manageable and measurable steps, employers will learn over time what steps they need to take to make the biggest difference in their own organisation.

“The labour market is changing and employers are facing huge challenges with skills and labour shortages and near-record vacancy rates. Workers in their 50s and 60s are key to filling these gaps – now, more than ever, the older workforce is the workforce.

“And yet older workers are continuing to leave the labour market in droves. We want to help businesses understand how they can be attractive employers to older workers and reap the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.”