The Over 50 Talent Pool: A Wasted Resource?

A new study from Business in the Community (BITC) suggests that older workers want to stay in employment but need more flexible options in order to do so. Age discrimination was also identified as a barrier for older workers, with those between the ages of 50 and 69 admitting they were treated poorly during the selection process.

Even though the standard retirement age was abolished in 2011, those over 50 who became involuntarily unemployed were “less likely” to return to work when compared to their younger peers.

The research findings show that less than a third of people between 50 and 64 who become unemployed manage to find another job, and among those that do find re-employment are more likely to work alternative roles such as self-employment and voluntary positions.  Other key findings include:

  • Of the older people who do return to work, just over half between the ages of 50 and 64 worked for an employer. This is in comparison to two-thirds in younger demographics.
  • Roughly a quarter of people out of a job in the age group would prefer to be in employment.

Rachael Saunders, BITC’s director of age and intergenerational workplaces, said:

“Not only are hard-working and highly skilled over 50s workers unfairly punished but we as a country also lose out. Urgent action is needed if we are going to reverse this situation and we will continue to work with government, business and local communities to keep people over 50 in work, and improve the prospects of marginalised and under-used over 50s workers.”