Age 'is the biggest obstacle to career progression'


Employees feel age is the biggest factor preventing them from progressing in their career, according to research of nearly 10,000 working adults from across Europe carried out by ADP.

A fifth of employees cited age as their biggest obstacle, followed by favouritism, lack of opportunities with their current employer, qualifications, and family needs.

Age was highlighted as a particular obstacle by workers in the Netherlands (24%), Switzerland (21%) and the UK (20%).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the issue increases as workers get older, with 46% of over-55s and 27% of those aged 45 to 54 feeling this way. ADP said this situation may reflect the increasing generational diversity of the workforce, as five generations of employees will soon be working side by side. Advancing technologies and more significant age differences in the workforce are likely to be isolating older workers, who may feel outdated by a younger, tech-ready generation.

The survey also showed a third of employees feel their company doesn’t support their career development. This figure increases with age, perhaps again reflecting the position of older workers in the workplace. While 79% of 16- to 24-year-olds think their employer is very interested in their development, just over 60% of those older than 45 feel this way.

At the same time, a third (32%) of employees say the most important area where they would like support from HR teams is in providing training opportunities. The findings suggest businesses and HR teams need to review how they support workers from different age groups to ensure everyone receives the same level of support. ADP said this is particularly important when considering career progression and training, ensuring that all employees have the skills to succeed.

According to the findings, some workers cited a lack of opportunities with their current employer as the biggest obstacle to career progression, particularly those in in Wales (11%), Northern Ireland (9%) and the North West (9%). At the same time 15% of UK workers don’t think they will stay in their current organisation for more than a year.

Annabel Jones, HR director at ADP UK, said: “If employees feel there are barriers between them and their career goals that are outside of their control, it can be disheartening. In order to have a properly engaged and committed workforce, employers must ensure all employees are treated fairly and receive the support and recognition they deserve.

“Similarly, organisations need to address any generational concerns felt by employees to benefit from the value that diverse age and experience levels bring to the workplace.”

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

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