Britain’s employers are increasingly reliant on the skills and talents of older workers to boost productivity. However, the ageing population also means that there will be an estimated nine million carers in the UK by 20371, many of whom will be trying to juggle both care and employment.
This is according to new research
released by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. It finds that, although the UK’s policy framework for supporting older workers and creating fuller working lives is well-developed in comparison to many other European countries, there is a crucial need to turn this thinking into practical action from organisations, to avoid losing the skills and experience of employees who choose to work beyond retirement.
With around 30% of the UK workforce currently over 50, compared to 20% in the 1990s2, the CIPD is urging employers to put the tools and culture in place now, to support older workers as they represent and increasingly significant proportion of the labour market.
The CIPD’s report explores employer practice towards older workers across five European countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany and the UK. It found that those in the group age 40+ and 50+ face the greatest care demands, but are also key to the labour force due to their experience. The CIPD is warning that the economy cannot afford to lose them, so it is up to employers to create attractive working situations, which take into account these external responsibilities, and enable people to stay in work.
Rachel Suff, CIPD Employment Relations Adviser, comments: “We need to encourage all employers to see older workers as an opportunity rather than a challenge. With a wealth of experience and transferable expertise, they can benefit the wider workforce and the business as a whole. Although it can be challenging for employers to counter people’s broader societal perceptions, ignoring the issues can hinder effective, intergenerational working.
Minister for Pensions, Baroness Ros Altmann said: “Employers should take advantage of the skills and experience that older workers can bring to the workplace. This is why we are developing an employer-led strategy with some of the UK’s biggest employers to ensure older workers get the support they need to be able to enjoy fuller working lives. With today’s report, I am delighted to have the CIPD’s support in raising awareness and understanding amongst employers of the value that older workers can bring.”