Data & Analytics is a traditionally very young sector that looks to recruit candidates with the most up-to-date knowledge.In one of our most recent reports – Diversity in Data – we found that 55 per cent of Data & Analytics professionals are below the age of 35, with a median age of 33. This is a significant change from last year, when 63 per cent of professionals were 35 or younger. While we believe one of the reasons for this is that younger professionals were more likely to lose their roles in COVID-related redundancies, there has also been an influx in the number of professionals “reskilling” and entering the industry following a career change. It’s crucial that the industry continues to diversify, especially when it comes to age. So, how can companies support these older candidates to break the routine and either enter, or re-enter, the industry?Appealing roles To overcome age discrimination and enhance the culture of their businesses, Data & Analytics employers should take action at the very beginning of their recruitment process. When seeking out candidates in their more advanced years, job descriptions should be free from age bias; for example, avoiding “digital native” or “innovative” but opting for “transferrable skills” and “dedicated”. Advertising managerial or mentoring role titles allow for older candidates to impart their experience despite entering or re-entering the sector. Some companies are also attracting older or retired professionals by offering so-called returnships to rebuild their technology skills. Companies could attract and retain an older workforce by offering several appealing benefits, such as comprehensive healthcare plans, wellness programmes and retirement benefits. Offering flexibility – job sharing, reduced hours or remote working – can also appeal to older workers who may struggle with childcare, or face health issues. On-site accommodations such as improved lighting, larger screens, ergonomic seating or open plan workspaces can also create a more comfortable place for these workers. Investing in older workers For the interview process, recruiters and employers in this young industry can choose to select a wider range of interviewers to prevent conscious and/or unconscious bias.For older professionals without much experience in newer specialisms, companies should include training on current technologies and softwares and other educational opportunities as part of their offer. In 2015, for instance, the UK Government set out its strategy for older workers, by offering incentives to employers who “Retain, Retrain, Recruit” these professionals. Meanwhile, as the younger candidates (18-24) were the most likely to have lost their jobs during the pandemic and have therefore lost out on crucial integration into the industry, employers can also help this group of people re-enter the industry in this new era. In line with their older colleagues, younger candidates will want to join a company offering flexible working, as well as one that prioritises transferable skills and experience over expertise. By offering on-the-job training and mentoring, as well as supporting self-schooling, companies can attract and retain these motivated younger professionals with general Data Science ability. If you’re looking to create a more inclusive and engaged culture as an age-friendly employer, get in touch with one of our experts consultants to find out how Harnham can help.