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Yes, it scarily, definitely is.

And although this was raised as a blog topic which needs redress through increased productivity, I couldn’t help but notice an HR update email that came through last week.

In this one email update there were these two headlines –
“Schools and Universities have ‘lost the plot’ in preparing young people for work” (
“The Great Age Debate – why the over 50’s should not be overlooked by recruiters” (

So on the one hand we have over a million unemployed young people who are inadequately prepared for work. And on the other we have only 17% of HR professionals who expect to look at the over 50’s for future recruitment.

Are we barmy?

There may well be a productivity issue going on here but surely making the most of the labour market we have would be a good start!

Gone are the days when 50 means ‘only a few years left to retirement’. Even for my mum who’s apparently in that baby boomer stage of maximum gains from house prices, good pensions, inheritance because her parents didn’t live long enough for it to be spent on old-age care, etc, isn’t jumping away from work at 65 for fear of financial insecurity.

This is only going to be an increasing trend as mindsets begin to alter through the realisation that 30+ years of retirement isn’t so much fun with no cash!

And then there’s the young people.

I’ve heard for a few years that education isn’t doing a good enough job for employers, and it doesn’t seem like much has changed. Yes, there are apprenticeships, although the article would suggest these still need more work. The CIPD has done a great job in the last year or so with it’s mentoring scheme for young people, helping them prepare their CVs and with what to expect from an interview. But what about education. What can we as HR professionals, as responsible employers in our local communities, do to work with schools and universities and start to influence from the ground up.

We have some choices, and we’d be pretty short-sighted and self-absorbed if the choice we make is to do nothing.

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