According to a new report by the government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, enabling people over 50 into employment could boost the economy by up to £25 billion a year.
The government’s Business Champion for Older Workers report, A New Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit, by Dr Ros Altmann setts out ways to help more over 50s stay in or move into work. The report highlights why action is needed, setting out the issues of demographic change and increasing life expectancy.
Recommending action that the government, business and the media should take to help older workers to thrive and ensure individuals, industry and the overall economy can reap the financial and social benefits.
It recommends that the government develops a strategy on older workers, including a national strategy to address skills gaps, mid-life career reviews and particularly apprenticeships for older workers. It recommends that businesses audit age and sills, including monitoring and guarding against age bias in recruitment practices.
Dr Altmann says that employers must focus on the ‘3 Rs’ of ‘Retain, Retrain, Recruit’ – helping business to recruit more older workers, retrain existing staff as their careers develop and provide flexibility to retain staff – as well as setting out specific measures that should be taken to make UK workforces more age diverse.
The report also indicates that when people in their 50s stay on in the workforce, it creates more, not fewer, jobs for younger people. If 50 per cent of the 1.2 million older workers were to move into employment this could boost the GDP up to £25 billion a year.
Dr Ros Altmann said:
The need to retain, retrain and recruit workers over 50 is becoming increasingly important as the population changes and people live longer.
I have set out to challenge outdated stereotypes, unconscious bias and age discrimination, which all contribute to preventing older people from staying in or returning to work.
There are many ways we can tackle this – which I have addressed in my report – including apprenticeships for those over 50, flexible working and better training for line-managers. Acting upon my recommendations will bring benefits to us all.”
To access the full report, click here.