Making Reward Personal: ILM research reveals bosses need to look at 50s as individuals

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Employers are wrongly assuming their older staff don’t want leadership development training, or other pathways into leadership roles, according to findings from the Institute of Leadership and Development (ILM).

According to its study of 1,400 workers, managers rated team members aged 50-plus far lower than younger age groups for their keenness to learn, develop and progress, scoring them at 46% for these attributes, compared to 67% for Generation X (born 1965–1976), and 79% for their younger millennial colleagues (born 1977–1997).

By contrast, older generations rate their own propensity to develop even higher still (94%).

Kate Cooper, head of applied research & policy at ILM said: “There is an inequality in Britain’s workforce that is contributing to a large and worrying leadership skills gap.”

She said: “We see over-50s are typically not being given equal opportunity to apply their much-needed occupational skills, knowledge and customer focus within a leadership role. This is because older workers are wrongly assumed to lack the desire to learn and progress into more senior positions, when in fact we found they are just as keen, if not keener, than their younger colleagues to grow and develop.” 

The research suggests this oversight by managers is impacting their confidence. For despite being keen to take new training opportunities, only 46% of over 50s say they expect to progress in the next three years.

Cooper added: “At a time when the relatively weak performance of UK management is affecting both national and organisational competitiveness, there is a real opportunity for organisations to recognise the benefits of an age diverse workforce and realise the untapped leadership talent of the over 50’s by investing in their ongoing training and development.”

To hear how you can better listen to your staff, including not making age-based assumptions, why not come to Reward’s ‘Making Reward Personal’ conference in London on 9 July.

To see who’s speaking, and for more details of this free-to-attend event, click here