The demographic of the UK’s working population is changing significantly. The latest available figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) demonstrate this trend, with data for May to July 2016 showing there were 31.7 million people in work in the UK.
Of these, 1.2 million were aged 65 or over, which is an increase of 25,000 more than the same period in 2015. Other research has also shown that the average age of retirement has continued to increase.
As people get older, they are more likely to acquire a disability. According to figures published by Department for Work and Pensions, the prevalence of disability increases with age: in 2012/13, 7% of children were disabled (0.9 million), compared to 16% of adults of working age (6.1 million), and 43% of adults over state pension age (5.1 million).
And as the trend for people to work later into their lives continues it brings some key issues for employers. They now have to be able to accommodate the greater prevalence of disability in the workplace that comes with an increasingly ageing demographic.
Statistically speaking you are more likely to acquire a disability during your working life than be born with a disability or impairment. At the same time, there is an increasing reliance on technology, and particularly digital technology, in the workplace.
This means employers have older workers who can struggle with digital technology, either because of the generation technology gap, or because an impairment or disability such as sight or hearing loss makes mainstream technology harder to use.
Assistive technology providers such as those exhibiting at ATEC Sheffield 2016 offer solutions that can help not only older workers and those with disabilities or impairments but the workforce as a whole.
There will be note taking software providers at ATEC demonstrating products that record audio and create text from audio recordings.
This software makes audio content easy to access, edit and use in documents for a variety of purposes such as reports and other business documents. It also has the capability to combine audio, text, images and presentation slides and can be used to help workers take notes or aid struggling writers.
This type of software is particularly useful for employees who have to take lots of notes at meetings and in other business activities. Exhibitors will be showing other assistive software that can help people with learning difficulties like dyslexia.
For example, spelling correction software will be on show which allows users to focus on what they’re writing rather than having their workflow and creative writing process disrupted by having to think about spelling mistakes.
Other exhibitors will be demonstrating assistive software that can transform the accessibility of an organisation’s internal systems for its employees by providing functionality such as text to speech and translation.
Also on show will be mind mapping software that helps people present ideas visually to effectively organize and develop ideas, outline reports and streamline decision-making. It is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace for creative planning but it also helps people who don’t have a linear thought process such as those with dyslexia.
Introducing assistive technologies like these enables employers to be inclusive and support people with changing needs. In turn this helps employers to retain talented employees. If employers take action now, not only will it benefit the working practices of people across their organisation, it will futureproof the organisation as the workforce ages.
To find out more about how assistive technology can help support the changing demographic of your workplace visit www.ateconference.com for further information and to book tickets.
VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.