41% of retail businesses would recruit an older worker over a younger candidate with exactly the same skills and experience. This is according to new research from corporate healthcare provider, Benenden Health.
In a national survey, more than a third of 1,000 SME business owners said that they would recruit a 55-year-old over a 24-year-old. 41% of business owners in the retail, hospitality and catering sector saying the same.
19% of retail, catering and hospitality business owners preferred a 24-year-old with the same CV.
One of the issues raised about young employees included lower productivity and higher absence rates. Instead they prefer ‘loyal’ older employees.
The study also found that 56% of Generation Z employees felt they have been overlooked for roles.
The findings have shown a major discrepancy between what employers and employees see as a priority. 45% of businesses have not asked employees to consult on a strong health and wellbeing scheme.
Health and wellbeing packages are starting to command increasing importance for employees. 46% of all respondents said a strong health and wellbeing benefit would increase their likelihood to join or stay with a business.
Generation Z employees revealed they would be willing to sacrifice a third of their salary to receive a healthcare package.
87% of SMEs surveyed reported that they don’t have a healthcare package in place for employees. 42% of those without one claimed they don’t believe it is necessary. 62% said they don’t believe a strong health and wellbeing package is valuable in recruiting and retaining employees.
Retail undervaluing a healthcare package
44% revealed that they have never consulted workers on what they would value in a healthcare package. This is despite employees having different priorities depending on their age.
Young workers said they place value on mental health support, counselling sessions and life skill lessons. Older people said regular medical checks and flexible working were top of their list.
Helen Smith of Benenden Health, commented: “Our research has highlighted some alarming discrepancies.
“The majority of businesses in the retail sector don’t have a healthcare package in place.
“This comes despite healthcare being valued by workers. Often more so than other benefits and even salary. This indicates that firms should prioritise a strong health and wellbeing programme to meet needs of a workforce.
“Younger people told us that mental health support is of great importance to them. But these priorities change over time.
Benenden Health is a not-for-profit society with a UK-wide membership of over 815,000. It was founded in 1905 to bring people together to help pay for medical care when they might need it.
Today, it has a mission to support businesses by providing affordable healthcare that helps keep employees healthy and valued and businesses thriving.