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Employers failing to train older workers

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Older workers are being routinely ignored by employers when it comes to training, warns a leading international sales training organisation – despite more retirees being employed than ever before.

The observations of Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, are based on the company’s extensive experiences with major employers in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. As Doug says: “More and more people are working beyond the current ages of retirement and this is a universal trend that’s set to continue as the age of retirement rises in tandem with increasing life expectancy. “However, what I find mystifying is that older workers are consistently looked over in favour of young employees when training provision is considered. “My team and I have noticed that it is not uncommon for older people to be routinely overlooked – purely, it can be assumed, as there are no other variables, because of their age – if there are a limited number of training places.

“This type of discrimination is depressingly commonplace.” Figures from both sides of the Atlantic back up the trend of older workers.  In the UK, 300,000 people aged 70 or over are still working.  In fact, in the UK alone, 1.54 million people at pension age and above are in work, compared to 753,000 in 1993.  And these figures are reflected across Europe and America. Given these numbers, and the paucity of sales training for those of a more mature age, Doug Tucker is adamant that many firms’ sales training policies need to be urgently revised. “The assumption that older people bring wisdom and experience to a sales role and therefore need no training is a fundamental flaw in the HR training policies of too many companies. “Or perhaps it is a mindset that older workers will typically not be with the company for the medium to longer-term and, therefore, are not worth the training investment. “Either way, we’re all working in an ever-changing sales arena that requires evolutionary sales training. And that’s for everybody, at every age.”

Doug believes that the consequences of not providing sales training to those of retirement age and over will have a devastating effect on fiscal bottom lines. And yet the answer is simple. “We’re not teaching old dogs new tricks here.  Instead, what I’m suggesting is that we refine experiences and contemporise sales techniques to build on the many attributes older workers bring to a company in a sales leadership role. “The results will not only be individually beneficial but corporately profitable. And those results can be achieved now.”

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