Archer Mathieson Warns UK Business to Mind the Age Gap

Britain’s ageing population will lead to a skills shortage in entry-level jobs which business is unprepared for, warns Archer Mathieson, a recruitment and interim management provider.

A survey released by the company today shows that while executives are realistic about the need to employ more people over the age of 60 in the future, fewer are aware of the impact of the ageing population on the other end of the demographic spectrum.

According to the research, 60 per cent of businesses are not expecting the inevitable drop in the availability of entry-level employees as the population ages.

In contrast, 67 per cent of respondents do expect to employ more people over the age of 60 as business faces up to the fact that it will need to rely on more experienced employees.

Respondents overwhelmingly demonstrated that external outsourcing of specialist skills, such as IT and finance, is increasingly the norm for UK business, with over 80 per cent turning to outside specialists and contractors for current projects. Three quarters of those surveyed expect to see further growth in the number and complexity of projects in the next few years.

Flexible working practices also look set to develop exponentially over the next few years, with nearly all of those surveyed agreeing that the need for more flexible arrangements will grow.

Commenting on the findings John Archer, founding partner of Archer Mathieson said, “While it is encouraging to see that many organisations are ready to embrace the availability of what we like to call an ‘experienced’ rather than ‘ageing’ workforce, at the other end of the spectrum business seems ill prepared for the inevitable decrease in supply of entry-level employees.

Our research shows that the next few years will without doubt see continued growth in demand for externally outsourced specialist contractors and an increase in flexible working arrangements, but business needs to mind the age gap as the supply of school-leavers and graduates inevitably falls.“

Over 250 executives responded to the Changing Workplace Survey, conducted between 6th and 17th October 2006 using Archer Mathieson’s database and managed by dg customer insight. The survey was compiled in conjunction with the author and columnist Richard Donkin, the author of Blood Sweat and Tears, The Evolution of Work and Financial Times columnist on work and careers.