11.03.15

New Report Calls for Greater Support for the Over-50s in Employment

A major new report A new vision for older workers: retain, retrain, recruit was launched today, setting out ways to help more over-50s stay in or move into work.

The culmination of eight months’ work, the report by Dr Ros Altmann CBE, the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, highlights why action is needed, setting out the issues of demographic change and increasing life expectancy.

It also recommends 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.

Dr Altmann outlines 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.

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“I have set out to challenge outdated stereotypes, unconscious bias and age discrimination, which all contribute to preventing older people from staying in or returning to work.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.”

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

“Beyond the age of 50, people start falling out of the workplace at dramatic rates – but there is a compelling economic and business case for overcoming these obstacles to access this vast untapped talent in the UK labour market.

“The Government has made a good start by abolishing the default retirement age and extending the right to request flexible working. But it is clear that old-fashioned and outdated perceptions still persist.

“From next month, we will be trialling targeted and intensive support for older jobseekers, including rolling out an ‘older workers’ champion scheme across every part of the UK, and we are seeing more firms open apprenticeships up for people of all ages.“

The main recommendations of the report are:

For government : Develop a cross-government strategy on older workers, including a national strategy to address skills gaps, mid-life career reviews and particularly apprenticeships for older workers.

A research programme to quantify the benefits and communications campaign targeting both employers and individuals to explain the value of fuller working lives, identifying the economic and business case, the barriers, solutions, and the support available for all.

For business: An age and skills audit for employers – including monitoring and guarding against age bias in recruitment practices – to manage knowledge and experience in your business.

Better training to effectively manage older workers, promoting options such as flexible working, family crisis leave and menopause awareness.

For individuals: Rethink your later life: don’t write yourself off – and top tips to find work.

For the media:Media action to promote positive language, stories and updated images of older workers.

Make greater use of older presenters.