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A study has revealed that out of 481 regular presenters at the mainstream TV channels, just 26 of them are women aged over fifty. Reflecting on the study, Shadow Culture Secretary, Harriet Harman, accused the television industry of ageism and sexism, telling Radio 4’s Today programme that the lack of older women in broadcasting was down to an “entrenched cultural assumption.”
Stripping away the ageism or sexism elements of the debate, it is a fact of life that with people retiring at a later stage, employers now have to balance the needs and aspirations of a multi-generational workforce. This means understanding and engaging with the skills and motivational drivers for each succeeding generation and finding ways to use those skills and abilities in a way which benefits the organisation.
It is the same challenge faced by many charities and visitor attractions which often find themselves balancing employees and volunteers, skilled specialists and novices across a wide age range. Success comes from understanding that equality doesn’t mean treating everyone the same but from recognising and drawing out the best from each individual. Organisations which take time to understand and engage with their employees will reap the benefits not just in maintaining a happier workforce but in increased profits, an enhanced reputation and a more loyal customer base.