With the plans announced by the UK government to raise the state pension age to 68, more than ever older workers will be remaining in the workforce for longer or return to work after early retirement. Some critics have raised concerns, as certain stigmas and perceptions by employers of the over-50s workforce need to change before individuals are encouraged to end early retirement.
According to recent statistics, in the last quarter of 2019 (pre-pandemic), there were 33 million people aged 16 and over in work and 9.3 million of these (28%) were aged 50–64. This trend is expected to continue, with the number of people in work aged over 65 expected to rise by one million by 2030. With this in mind, Oak Tree Mobility has investigated how an ageing workforce can bring valuable experience and stability to the workplace, but it is also facing significant challenges, including ageism and ableism.
Research from Ageing Better shows that more than a third (36%) of 50–69 year-olds feel at a disadvantage applying for jobs due to their age. This can range from being passed over for promotions or training opportunities to facing negative comments from colleagues or managers. Ageism not only has damaging effects on the individual, but it also has wider implications for the economy. Older workers who face ageism may be forced to retire earlier than they would like, reducing the overall pool of skilled workers and potentially limiting economic growth. It also means that businesses may miss out on the valuable contributions that older workers can bring, such as their experience and expertise.
An ageing workforce can bring significant value to a company in several ways. Older workers often bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, having spent many years in the workforce and gaining a deep understanding of their industry and job roles. This experience can be invaluable in solving complex problems, making informed decisions and providing mentorship to younger employees. An ageing workforce can also bring stability and reliability to the workplace, as older workers are less likely to change their jobs. Older workers can also bring diverse perspectives and innovative ideas, helping to drive creative thinking and problem-solving within the workplace
To address the challenges faced by older workers, employers must take steps to create a more inclusive workplace. This includes providing equal opportunities for training and development, ensuring that recruitment processes are free from age discrimination, and promoting an age-diverse workforce. This can help to ensure that older workers are valued for their skills and experience, rather than being discriminated against based on their age.
In addition, the government can also play a role in addressing the challenges faced by older workers. For example, policies can be implemented to address ageism in the workplace, provide support for training and development, and encourage flexible working arrangements to help older workers balance work and care responsibilities.
By creating an inclusive workplace and valuing the contributions of older workers, businesses can benefit from the valuable skills, experience, and stability that an ageing workforce brings. Additionally, the government can play a role in addressing the challenges faced by older workers, through policies and support programs, to ensure that the ageing workforce is valued and supported.
Verity Kick, marketing director at Oak Tree Mobility said: “An ageing workforce brings valuable experience and stability to the workplace, but it is also facing significant challenges, including ageism and ableism. To address these challenges, employers must take steps to create a more inclusive workplace and value the contribution of older workers. The government can also play a role through policies and support programmes to ensure that the ageing workforce is valued and supported.”