The following text is an extract of the keynote address delivered by Christina McElvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, The Scottish Government, at EngAGE – The Festival of Ageing Conference, organised by GenAnalytics and The Herald on 23 May, 2019 at Glasgow Caledonian University in association with NTT Data UK.
“Population ageing is a fact and we know it is happening at a faster rate than in the rest of the UK.
But we firstly need to recognise that ageing is something to be celebrated.
And that means we have to change the way we think about ageing.
Life does not stop when you hit 50.
Life is not an inevitable, miserable decline.
So I’d like to talk about the recently published “A Fairer Scotland for Older People – A Framework for Action”.
We were told that the main priorities that people had as they got older were: remaining a valued part of the community, fair access to public services including health and social care, housing and transport, arts and culture, as well as financial security.
Recognising that a diverse workforce demands diverse job opportunities. And ensuring the no-one misses out. This, couple with the effect of successive raises in the state pension age has an impact.
It means that recruiting and retaining older workers in the labour market and work place for longer, is increasingly important to Scotland’s economic growth.
Offering flexible working or facilitated phased retirement is an important inclusive employment practice. And there is good reason to do it.
Flexible and agile working policies have been found to raise loyalty, motivation and business productivity as workers experience an improved work-life balance.
But how will we keep people working as they age?
We have our £750,000 Workplace Equality Fund. This is funding for employers and their business partners. And that fund has been expanded for 2019 which will enable them to address the needs of older workers, including those who provide care support, women transitioning through the menopause, and efforts to support employers to tackle social isolation and loneliness.
Women face specific barriers to entering, re-entering and progressing within the workplace. And the gender pay gap widens with age.
So we have a range of initiatives to help women stay in work . These strategies include: A Fairer Scotland for Women, the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan and the Women Returners Programme.
So it is clear that the Scottish Government is undertaking a number of positive initiatives to support older workers and workers of pensionable age.
We must be considerate of a wider inter-generational workforce, and we must bring forward more flexible measures to better suit older workers.
And we must remind ourselves that our people, are every organisations biggest assets.
Ageing is everyone’s business.”
Yesterday over 170 people from all sectors of Scotland’s economy came together at Glasgow Caledonian University to change the narrative around ageing in our country. GenAnalytics partnered with The Herald to organise this festival of ageing as we believe this is a significantly important conversation we need to have if we are to achieve our ambitions for inclusive economic growth.
An ageing population creates opportunities! We know there are challenges that we need to discuss openly and overcome but how do we make sure we are harnessing the skills and talents of all of our citizens? This is what engAGE is all about. We were delighted to have support from the Scottish Government to organise the event and welcomed the Minister for Older People and Equalities Christina McElvie MSP who delivered the keynote address. You can hear what the Minister had to say about the Scottish Government’s commitment to changing attitudes around ageing and supporting older people here in this short video. More content will be uploaded over the next few days.
We held our third Diversity Conference in partnership with The Herald yesterday in Glasgow. It was another inspiring day with many organisations talking about the progress that has been achieved but also some challenging conversations about the issues that many individuals across our workplaces still face. You can find out more about the event from our video.
In just under two weeks time we will host Scotland’s third diversity conference with our partners at The Herald. We’ll be hearing from and engaging with speakers from all sectors of the economy and from all backgrounds. Everyone has a story to tell and a message that emphasises that diversity is not an add on – that diversity is vital to economic growth. We can’t be complacent on diversity or pause for a moment thinking that we’ve made enough progress. Diversity needs to stay on the business agenda.
GenAnalytics has recently completed a significant project in partnership with City Building to explore opportunities for diversity and inclusion in their supply chain. The report – funded by the Scottish Government through the workplace equality fund – sought to understand the barriers to diversity and inclusion activities and the opportunities to share best practice across City Building’s supply chain. We engaged directly with businesses and created a diversity toolkit to support the supply chain to develop their diversity and inclusion strategy. If you would like a copy of the report please contact us. https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/scottish-government-calls-for-action-on-constructions-gender-imbalance
We are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new event in partnership with The Herald – EngAGE. Scotland has a growing older population. We face big challenges and big decisions ahead on affordability of an ageing population, of the type of society we want to see for our older people. But ageing is too often seen as a negative. We want to change the narrative around ageing and talk about the positive opportunities for our economy and our society. With nearly five generations in the workplace how can we maximise the opportunities of an ageing workforce rather than talking it down? That’s what our EngAGE conference is about. With support from The Scottish Government, Glasgow Caledonian University and NTT Data our conference will set the ambition of making Scotland’s the most age friendly economy in Europe. We hope you will join us in this ambition.
We’ve focussed this month on the gender pay gap and you can read more here:
Scotland’s third Diversity Awards took place on Thursday last week with a record number of guests in attendance. 400 individuals from the public, private, third and charity sector joined GenAnalytics and The Herald to recognise winners from across our economy who are all committed to driving the diversity and inclusion agenda forward. We were delighted to be joined by Amy Conachan, star of Hollyoaks and graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, who hosted the evening for us and also Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, who delivered an inspiring address before the awards ceremony. You can find out who all of our winners were here: Scotland’s Diversity Champions
We know that we still have more to do before our workplaces are truly inclusive however the growth in our awards since its launch three years ago shows us that we are on the right path. We are also as appreciate as ever to our partners who supported the event – many of whom have been with us since day one.
We won’t be slowing up our efforts and plans are already underway for our Diversity Conference and Awards in 2019 so keep an eye out for announcements.
Scotland’s Diversity Champions is a growing network – to join us get in touch.
FDM Group, University of Glasgow, Scottish Water, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Clydesdale Community Initiatives – what does your organisation have in common with these employers?
At first glance you might not think there are no similarities or nothing in common. But if your organisation has made strides in efforts to achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce then you have more in common than you think.
The third Diversity Awards taking place in October this year is the opportunity for your organisation to join our growing network of Scotland’s Diversity Champions.
In just over two years we have recognised the achievement of over 80 businesses, social enterprises, public sector organisations, and individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion for the benefit of all.
Some of these organisations were at the early stages on their diversity journey but could demonstrate impact and success. Some have been working on this agenda for a number of years – mainstreaming this into normal day-day business.
There are a whole range of categories available for entry: large employers, medium employers, small employers, third sector, education, communities, youth employment, public sector – a variety of categories with diversity and inclusion at their heart.
Once again, we are also hugely grateful to our partners for supporting this event: BAE Systems, City Building LLP, City of Glasgow College, CIPD, Diageo, Taylor Wimpey, MacRoberts, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Standard Life Aberdeen, Wheatley Group, and YSC – many of whom have been on this journey with The Herald and GenAnalytics from the beginning and who are absolutely committed to diversity within their own organisations and across our economy as a whole.
If you or your organisation is working to ensure that people have the opportunities to maximise their potential in the workplace and are committed to driving change then we want to hear from you. Even if you have entered in previous years please consider an entry once again.
It’s always an exciting moment when we start reading all the entries that come in from across Scotland. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your organisations’ efforts and achievements. But more importantly don’t miss out on the opportunity to join Scotland’s Diversity Champions. The momentum is behind us on this and definite progress being made. Now is the time to ensure we capitalise on this and continue our efforts to achieve a truly diverse and inclusive economy.
Scotland’s Diversity Awards
Or why not fill out a More Information Request Form
- engAGE – Video Highlights from the Festival of Ageing on 23 May
- engAGE Conference – extracts from the Minister for Older People and Equalities, The Scottish Government, Keynote Address
- engAGE Conference – Scotland’s Festival of Ageing
- Scotland’s Diversity Conference 2019
- Scotland’s Diversity Conference – Driving Forward