Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Oliver Bonas joins Age-friendly Employer Pledge programme recognising value of older workers

Leading British lifestyle store Oliver Bonas has become the first national high street retailer to sign the Age-friendly Employer Pledge.

  • The department store becomes the 129th employer to sign the Centre for Ageing Better scheme 
  • An additional 167 organisations have registered an interest in signing the pledge 
  • The free, nationwide programme already covers almost 300,000 employees including in finance, hospitality, voluntary and public sectors 

Leading British lifestyle store Oliver Bonas has become the first national high street retailer to sign the Age-friendly Employer Pledge.  

Established late last year by the Centre for Ageing Better, the Age-friendly Employer Pledge is a nationwide programme for employers who recognise the importance and value of older workers.     More than 140 employers have already signed the pledge including Natural England, Reed Industrial, Virgin Hotels, Zurich Insurance and Ipsos as well as government departments for Work and Pensions, Business and Trade and the Treasury.  

The pledge was launched to help overcome ageism in the workplace as well as assist employers to resolve skills shortages and record vacancy rates.     The Centre for Ageing Better believes with an ageing population and ever longer working lives, workers in their 50s and 60s are key to filling these gaps - this is especially true in the retail sector, which had 87,000 vacancies in the first three months of this year. 

By signing the pledge, Oliver Bonas has committed to taking at least one action a year to improve the recruitment, retention and development of older workers. Signatories also commit to identifying a senior sponsor for age-inclusion within their workforce and ensure that age is specifically named within their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies. 

Anna Parfitt, People Director at Oliver Bonas, said:

“We are committed to creating a multi-generational workforce and age-friendly culture at Oliver Bonas. By signing the Age-Friendly Employer Pledge we are demonstrating the importance of taking steps to support all ages within our workplace.  

“We are proud through our work with our EDI team and Voices network to already be offering many of the key areas within the pledge, including flexible working, menopause support in addition to age positive recruitment advertising. We look forward to continuing our journey working with the Centre for Ageing Better.” 

Dr Emily Andrews, Deputy Director for Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“Nearly one in ten vacancies (8%) in the UK are in retail. Recruiting and retaining older workers will be key to addressing this challenge.  

“It is excellent to see Oliver Bonas join over 140 organisations in committing to improving work for people in their 50s and 60s and beyond. Signing the pledge is a brilliant way for employers to kick off their journey towards becoming age-inclusive. 

“Other retailers can show that they recognise the importance of older workers by following the lead of Oliver Bonas and signing up to the Age-friendly Pledge.”    For more information on the Age-friendly Employer Pledge visit