How Law Firms Can Meet the Challenges of an Aging Workforce The UK has an ageing population: over-50s now account for just under a third of the current workforce, up by 10% from the early 1990s, and the number of over-65s is set to grow by 8.6 million — roughly the population of London — by 2070. The ageing population presents some challenges, but the business case for an age-diverse workforce is clear. Employers need to make practical changes to adapt to the realities of an ageing workforce and fully harness the skills of their older employees. The Challenges of a Mixed-Age Workforce Organisations that fail to take action now could face serious obstacles. As older workers reach retirement and leave working life, a wealth of expertise, knowledge and insight developed over decades can get lost. Firms may replace Firms that create an inclusive culture and welcome employees of all ages stand to benefit from the wealth of skills and experience that many older workers bring. retiring staff with new entrants to the labour market who might not have the immediate required skills, which creates a ‘double shock’ to our national balance sheet. There is also an issue with age discrimination in the workplace. Research by the Centre for Ageing Better (CAB) suggests that one in five employers face real problems with managing mixed-age teams. And age- discrimination complaints have averaged between 2,000 and 3,000 per year since 2005 (apart from 2015 to 2016 when the number rose to almost 13,000), which makes age almost as common as race in employment tribunal discrimination cases. These problems can create an additional hit to the economy. Often driven away by toxic office environments, half of older workers retire early, which sucks yet more valuable human capital out of important 22 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | NOV 2019 Special Feature By Natasha Broomfield-Reid, Mills & Reeve www.mills-reeve.com "In the legal profession, age is often perceived as a reliable marker of industry insight and know-how."