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Here is why age diversity matters

People and their talent are Umicore’s greatest asset for long-term success. We recognize each individual’s uniqueness and appreciate diversity of thought. It promotes innovation and an open working culture, and age diversity cannot be the exception.  

Knowledge, skills and expertise from different age groups matter and it is important to listen to different points of view as this brings innovation in many ways, even if these points of view don’t come from senior members of staff. Enabling our colleagues to engage at work whatever their level and age allows us to solve problems and implement sustainable solutions. We aim to create an inclusive culture and a diverse workforce, an environment in which people are encouraged to speak up and exchange views on any topic. Senior profiles may use their experience and know-how to instruct youngsters, while younger profiles may bring new perspectives and skills to more established colleagues.  At Umicore, we have set up sounding boards to enable diversity of thought from both junior and senior colleagues. 

Age diversity is the ability to accept and include all ages within the business environment. In this way, we create a great mix of innovative and fresh ideas combined with knowledge of the industry and its processes. Older and younger generations can bring both. Together, we build an inclusive, equal, collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment. 

Is age diversity that important? Yes, it is, and Diana Dai, our RBMC Department Manager HR & GSCr confirms this: “A broad age range among employees enhances diversity within the company. This in turn generates more diversified ideas for the operation and management of the company, which results in a better performance. Young employees are motivated, energetic, proactive, and active in their thinking. They inject fresh blood into the company and bring new ideas and creativity. Older employees are rich in work experience, knowledge, and practical experience. Different age groups can exchange energy and experience, which can bring different perspectives to the company's performance and decision-making.”

It isn’t only about ideas. It’s about handling situations differently, as well. Our recruiter for the South America region, Harife Souza, thinks that’s the biggest benefit to the teams: “I believe that the age difference also impacts on the way people react or view situations. There are different ways of dealing with technical and relationship challenges. Maturity offers the younger members of staff opportunities to learn. And the younger ones can call into question established processes.”

To achieve this diverse and inclusive environment we need to ensure that our recruitment process is unbiased. Diana shares how she makes sure this is done: “We select and interview candidates based on their knowledge, skills, and key competences. Before the interview process and together with the hiring department, we determine the proportion of each competence, note the key capabilities, and design the interview questions based on the above. That way we unify the interview process and interview tools, so that recruitment is equal.”

Harife described how she selects resumes: “When selecting resumes I don't look at personal information such as age or gender identity. We first have a look at experience and academic education, and based on that we decide whether they suit the job profile.” Because we also value uniqueness, she includes that in the process as well: “I assess how the person fits in with the management model and the team that they are to join, trying to complement the team and bring people into line with the challenges of the opportunity. I also take care to check whether the person is aligned with Umicore values ​​and our safety culture.”

If our uniqueness and ideas can shape the future, imagine what you could do?