Centrica recognises the importance and invaluable experience older people bring to the workforce including their life experiences, knowledge and contacts. A significant number of their employees are aged between 45 and 64, and with the number of people working past their intended retirement age expected to grow Centrica realise the importance in having effective support available to older employees that will assist and help retain them during the later stages of their working lives. Having a diverse workforce also helps Centrica to better understand and meet the needs of their diverse customer base.
Centrica’s flexible working programme supports late-age workers by providing them with greater control to balance their work and personal lives. For instance, employees can work part-time, have flexing shift patterns, take pre-retirement leave or utilise home working in roles where it is possible to do so. Over half of Centrica’s worldwide workforce using some form of flexible working arrangements.
Centrica’s flexible working policies and practices also empower carers, who are often older members of the workforce, to continue to meet both their carer commitments (for example looking after a family member), alongside employment.
Centrica are also committed to increasing the retention, promotion and recruitment of senior women in the business and have taken a leading position in promoting opportunities for older workers by;
- removing upper age limits for apprenticeship schemes in the UK
- encouraging the recruitment of mature graduates into the Centrica graduate scheme
- focusing efforts on leadership training, recruitment, flexible working and employee network groups.
Alternately, older employees are encouraged to pursue mentoring roles within the business, sharing years of valuable experience and skills with younger generations.
Group-wide diversity data is reviewed and Centrica recognises the challenges to setting targets for diversity so they do not discriminate – even if it is to benefit an under-represented group. To overcome this there is a focus instead on directional targets that promote positive action rather than positive discrimination.