Policy

Helping people to find and stay in work

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 45% 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:

  • retiring 2 years after State Pension age and continuing to save in that time can increase private pension income by 20%, but retiring 2 years before State Pension age and taking an income from your pension can reduce it by 18%
  • extending everyone’s working lives by 1 year could increase real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by around 1% after about 6 years

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 markedly across the main business sectors because of traditional approaches to recruitment and working practices. In all sectors many older workers retire early because they can’t get flexible or part-time work.

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

Our Age Positive guidance provides case studies and tried and tested solutions to all ageing workforce concerns, from recruitment through to addressing under-performance.

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