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Is the Government failing mature workers?
Is the Government failing mature workers? We’re an ageing population and have a unique opportunity to have more than one career in a lifetime. From vet to photographer, stock broker to teacher, the world is our oyster. Or is it? Whether it’s a career change or simply the need to work longer because we’re living longer, it should be a level playing field. But sadly, it seems that age discrimination is still rife in the labour market. Age Discrimination According to Age UK in an article published earlier this year, the number of mature workers is on the rise. However, their research found that 36% of 55-64 year olds feel like they’ve been treated unfairly or disadvantaged because they were perceived as being older. They also found that there’s gender inequality too, with 50+ women more likely to work in lower skilled jobs than 50+ men. According to the Government’s ‘Older people and employment’ report from the Women and Equalities Committee published earlier this year, the nation is wasting the skilled talents of more than 1 million people aged over 50 who currently don’t work, but would if the right opportunity was available. People in their later years are often playing many different roles in life. They are often caring for an elderly parent or relative or even providing childcare for grandchildren, so their own children can work. The need for flexibility is often prominent and there should be no barriers surrounding this, or age. Why Is This Happening? How is this happening? Discrimination was made unlawful more than 18 years ago. Under the Equality Act 2010, prejudice, unconscious bias and casual ageism in the workplace are all unlawful. But, quite simply, at the moment, too little is being done to enforce that law. Neither the Government or the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is getting involved in the recruitment sector. What The Government Should Be Doing. There’s clearly a business case for an age-diverse workforce. If the Government isn’t doing anything, should employers be taking a stand? Creating the environment for an age-diverse workplace will be a challenge for some businesses, particularly small businesses that don’t have dedicated HR representatives, but now is the time to make a stand and make a change. Experience is everything, so surely it makes sense for employers to embrace the opportunities, knowledge and insight that a mature workforce can bring? Have you been affected by, or know anybody who has been affected by age prejudice in the workforce? Please share your stories with us…
Returning to work after maternity leave
Returning To Work After Maternity Leave Integration back into the workplace after months of sleepless nights, pureeing carrots and walking in the park is not always as easy as you might think. In fact, it might shock you to know that a whopping 65% of women on maternity leave do not go back to their employer. Why? Some women choose not to return to work, but more often than not, they are left with no choice due to inflexibility from employers. According to our research, 44% of women don’t return to work at all and 21% return to a new more flexible employer. The stats raise the question – are employers doing enough to accommodate their employees changing needs and circumstances? Some employers are flying the flag for returning to work and even offer specially developed programmes to ease new parents back into work life. Others, sadly, are really letting the side down. Here are a few ideas on how you can stay ‘in touch’ and engaged with your employer while you’re away. If your employer is currently not using any of these methods, then make your case for them. It’s in their interests to hold on to good people! Keep-up chat Buddy up with a colleague and have a monthly catch-up call. You can stay in the loop and be involved in decisions (if you want to!) whilst on maternity leave. (Obviously, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Some parents want to 100% switch off from work when they’re on maternity leave, which is totally fair enough. It’s all down to personal preference.) Phased return Following an initial catch-up session, ‘phase’ back into the workplace on your return after maternity leave e.g. be ‘in’ but not ‘on’. This helps new parents to re-acclimatise to the world of work. Flexible working Flexible start and finish times, remote working, part time, full time condensed hours, term-time only and job shares are just some of the options available. If your employer doesn’t offer flexible working, make the case for it! Read our blog on asking for flexible working hours. Shared paternity leave Consider shared paternity leave as an option, meaning each parent spends less time out of the workplace but your baby has that quality time with both of you. Having a baby is an emotional time and will change your life forever, so it’s very difficult to plan ahead. You just don’t know how you will feel tomorrow, let alone six months or 12 months down the line. You may not want to go back and be fortunate enough not to have to, or you may want to return on a flexible working pattern. Or perhaps, you want to carry on just as before. Everyone is different. Maybe you are thinking of a change in career direction. If this is the case it may be worth talking to a career coach. You can read more about this on our blog. Whatever route you choose to go down, there are always options available. If your employer is not parent-friendly and flexible, encourage them to be! There are plenty out there who are!
Working in the Public Sector
Working In The Public Sector Over 6 million people work in the sector; schools, councils and emergency services are the most widely known. The NHS is the largest employer with 1.4m employees. But, there are also unique bodies set up for specific needs such as environment agencies. There’s a wide range of public sector roles available; not just the traditional roles that we naturally think of such as teachers, police and firefighters. Engineers, researchers and scientists are particularly valued. Public vs Private So, what are the benefits? Job Security On the whole, there’s more job security than in the private sector. The public sector is still relatively stable in comparison to profit-based companies which are exposed to closures and therefore redundancies. Making a difference The role of the public service is to make a difference to the nation. It’s about enhancing or securing our way of life and shaping society. So, it can be incredibly rewarding; you can make a living whilst making a difference to people’s lives. Transparency There’s transparency around salary. This level of visibility is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does mean that you can ensure you’re being renumerated fairly and there is a clear line of progression and pay grades. On the whole, in the private sector, employees have no visibility and have to rely on their employer’s integrity that pay is adequate and non-discriminating. Flexible Working Whilst the private sector is slowly coming around to the idea of flexible working, Government organisations have recognised the different circumstances of their employees for some time. Flexible hours are common and are usually based around shift work or core hours. Job sharing and part-time jobs are also available. If you currently work in public service and flexible hours aren't part of the culture then read our guide to requesting those better suited hours. Preparing for later life Final salary pensions or pensions based on average career earnings are also available in the public sector but are few and far between in the private sector. Pensions vary between sector and profession, so it’s worth doing some homework. All in all, opportunities are wide and varied across the sector. Check out our current roles. At the moment, we have a recruitment role in Civil Service HR, Ministry of Defence roles and a role with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on 18.5 hours a week and many more…. https://jobs.mummyjobs.co.uk/jobs/public-sector/