Older people and employment in Scotland: research

An examination of attitudes and issues surrounding an older workforce.

Annex F: Employer focus group/interview topic guide

Older People and Employment in Scotland
Employer focus group topic guide

At the start of the focus group, each participant will be asked to complete a short questionnaire containing questions on the following topics:

  • A description of the function of the business/organisation
  • Demographic profile of the workforce (number of workers; proportion of skilled/semi-skilled/unskilled workers; gender profile; age profile - esp over 50/0ver 65)
  • Does your organisation have Scottish Living Wage accreditation? (£8.45/hr)

1. Current approaches to managing later-life working

  • In your experience as employers, what are the key challenges associated with an ageing workforce?
  • Can you identify any opportunities that an ageing workforce offer your business/organisation?
  • What are the implications of the abolition of the default retirement age for workforce planning in your organisation?
  • What currently happens when an employee is reaching their 60s or close to what would have been the default retirement age?
    • Any discussion of retirement? Who initiates?
    • "Bridge retirement?"
    • Redundancy?
  • Are you experiencing any issues around capacity to work among older employees, such as health problems or performance issues, or not?
    If yes:
    • How do you manage them?
    • Is this an issues that line managers are able/willing to tackle?
  • What is your current approach towards training & career development for older workers - by which I mean those over the age of 50?
    • Any difference in approach for those aged over 65?
  • Do you think any new initiatives are needed in areas such as training and career development for older workers?
  • Do you have any particular policies in place to support older workers?
    • for example, to deal with issues around caring responsibilities or health?
  • Do you have a flexible working policy?
    • How does this work in practice?
    • How often is it used by older workers? For what sort of circumstances?
  • Does anyone have any stories to tell from their business that describe what you think is innovative or good practice in terms of retaining older workers?

2. Recruitment of older workers

  • When it comes to recruiting workers, does your organisation have an informal age cut-off?
  • What proportion of applicants for new posts are over 50 years old, roughly speaking?
  • Do you as an employer do anything in particular to attract older applicants?

3. Retirement & pensions

  • Do you have a flexible retirement scheme?
    • How does it operate?
    • Any difference in take up by employee grade or gender?
  • Do you think there will continue to be a place for schemes such as voluntary early retirement & voluntary severance?
    • Amongst your workforce, are there any employees looking for early retirement?
  • Do you think that pension changes will affect all of your employees equally, or do you think that it may have a greater impact on particular sections of your workforce than others?
    PROBE: gender/grade of employee

4. Desired support from Scottish Government

  • Do you think that there is anything that the Scottish Government could or should do to support employers in the recruitment, management and retention of older workers?
  • Are you aware of any initiatives such as the Business Pledge/Carer Positive Awards/Family Friendly Partnership?

5. Finishing up

  • Generally speaking, how important is age as an HR concern?
  • To finish: Thinking about all of the things we have talked about today, how would you sum up your views as employers regarding extended working


Back to top