Highland Council staff to be asked to work into older age


Oolder people will be asked to work longer as part of Highland Council’s battle with an ageing population.

Almost half of the local authority’s workforce is aged 50 or above and less than 10 per cent are under 30, leading to concerns about how frontline services will be provided in future.

Mass retirement in the coming years, combined with fears that many highly-skilled EU nationals will leave Scotland [post-Brexit has led to council officers creating a “talent attraction, retention and returns” strategy in a bid to keep its diminishing workforce afloat.

Among the proposals are more flexible working patterns including reduced hours and varying shifts, in a bid to encourage older employees to put off retiring.

They also hope to convince young people to stay in the Highlands and bring home those who have already left.

A report by Steve Walsh, head of people, and Andy McCann, economy and regeneration manager, said the council workforce needs are “wide-ranging and complex”.

“Consideration will also have to potentially be given to terms and conditions of service in order to create a more flexible, agile and affordable workforce,” it added.

But with EU nationals making up around 10 per cent of the Highland population are EU nationals, the report added that Brexit poses another threat to the workforce.

“The government is looking to secure that status of EU nationals already living in the UK but no guarantees have been given yet.

“Uncertainty is intensified by a very real concern about the potential number of highly qualified EU staff in the Highlands who might decide to leave.”


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