Longevity at work
Around the world people are living longer, healthier lives. In 2020, for the first time there were more 60-year-olds in the world than children under 5, and in the UK nearly 20% of the population are over 65.
As the shape of society changes, so does the workplace. Older and more experienced workers are increasingly choosing to work for longer. Over the past twenty years, the employment rate for people aged 50 to 64 alone has risen from 56% in 1993 to 73% at the start of 2020 .
Supporting and empowering an ageing workforce will be critical for businesses. By tapping into multigenerational talent and skills, we can benefit from diverse thought and ideas. We know this leads to better teams, better innovation, and better growth.
Creating an age-positive workplace
We support our older employees through ongoing training and reskilling opportunities, new employment models and flexible working practices, and policies and benefits that provide tailored support at all life stages.
Future-fit skills at all career stages
Equipping our people to adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing world of work is crucial. Age should not be a barrier at fulfilling work or personal growth, and our ambition is for all our employees to have a future-fit skill set by 2025, through upskilling, re-skilling and employability development.
In the UK we have several upskilling programmes available to our employees, which provide an opportunity to grow and develop capabilities within the skills we see driving future growth, such as data analysis, digital skills and leadership. These programmes offer opportunities to upskill within current careers or to retrain into a new one.
Our ‘Your Future of Working Life’ week is a new programme being rolled out across our UK offices and factories, which includes free sessions tailored to address a range of topics and issues relevant to older employees, including skills audits, enterprise skills development, career, and finance advice as well as guided sessions on how to identify and pursue personal purpose and fulfilment at work in later life stages.
New employment models
To retain top talent, employment models need to evolve to reflect changing workplace trends. We’ve made a commitment to pioneer new employment models and provide flexible working practices to all our employees. We want work to be accessible across all different life stages and know that flexible working is key to this.
U-Work, our pioneering new employment model, gives employees the flexibility to create a working week that works for them or to work on a project basis, whilst benefiting from the security of a guaranteed income with benefits such as pension, and healthcare. Whilst U-Work is for all employees, we have seen this programme be particularly beneficial to older workers looking to evolve their working life to reflect new priorities and passions, with half of our U-Work population being over 50.
As we get older, our needs and value systems change. We want to ensure we are providing the right support for our people at all life stages - both inside and outside the workplace. To support an ageing workforce holistically, we need to understand and acknowledge the issues that are important to them and adapt our workplace and policies to support and address these.
- Our BUPA healthcare policy covers support for chronic conditions which are more likely to become prevalent as we get older
- To provide support for employees juggling caring responsibilities with work, we have partnered with Seniorcare by Lottie to help employees find and fund care for elderly loved ones
- We were the first FMCG company to be Menopause Friendly accredited in 2021, having extended the support we offer in this area to provide free consultations with a menopause-trained doctor; a personalized care plan and 24/7 ongoing support via a free healthline. We offer training for all employees, including line managers, to raise awareness and understanding around the experience and challenges of menopause
Creating an age inclusive workplace
We want to be open and transparent about ageing and help break down the barriers and bias which exist. As well as ensuring our policies are age inclusive, we continue to reframe how we talk to, and about, older workers.
Through our partnership with Restless, who support over 50s to manage their careers, money and lifestyle, we are adapting our recruitment materials to be more age-inclusive and they are helping to amplify Unilever as an employer to their audience, helping us to specifically target and speak to age 50+ communities.