Supporting detail:

Helping older people who want to find or stay in work

Out of work older people can find it more difficult to get a job and they are more likely than younger people to remain unemployed for longer. For example, around 46% of unemployed people aged over 50 have been unemployed for 12 months or more compared with around 30% of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged 18 or over (Office for National Statistics Labour Market Statistics, January 2014).

Working longer can have a positive impact on an individual’s savings for retirement, and also for the economy as a whole. For example:

  • an average earner who starts using their savings 10 years early to retire could see their pension pot over a third smaller, and spread over a much longer retirement
  • UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could have been £18 billion higher in 2013 if the difference in employment levels between people in their 40s and those aged 50 to State Pension age was halved

There is a commonly held misunderstanding that increasing employment for older people blocks jobs for younger workers. However, a recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies concluded there was ‘no evidence of long-term crowding-out of younger individuals from the labour market by older workers’.

Thriving businesses, large and small from across all sectors, report the benefits of employing younger and older workers:

  • McDonald’s have 20% higher performance in those outlets that employ workers aged over 60 as well as younger workers
  • South Wales Forgemasters have no retirement age – they say there are no concerns about reduced progression opportunities and the process of training new staff has been improved greatly by involving experienced, skilled workers as trainers on the company’s apprenticeship scheme

Working to improve older worker employment in the main business sectors

Older worker employment varies across and within the main business sectors because of different approaches to recruitment and working practices. In all sectors many older workers leave earlier than they would like.

Fortunately many employers report clear business benefits of effectively managing an ageing workforce – retaining the skills of older workers while bringing on younger workers.

On 13 June 2014 we published Fuller Working Lives: a framework for action. This explains how working longer can benefit individuals, businesses, society and the economy. It sets out a number of new actions we will take to help people have fuller working lives.

We have published guidance about employing older workers and working past 50. This includes the ‘Employer toolkit: guidance for managers of older workers’, produced in partnership with the Age Action Alliance, that covers all business sectors. The toolkit is available as an interactive version and to download as a PDF.

The toolkit builds on our previous Age Positive guidance. This provides case studies and tried and tested solutions to managing an ageing workforce from recruitment through to addressing under-performance.