We all gain from Fuller Working Lives
A new government strategy encourages the over 50s to reap the benefits of work, including a second career.
We are living, on average, almost a decade longer than our grandparents. This is great news. But it also has implications for employers, and the economy overall, as well as people’s own personal financial security.
Many companies are reflecting on the challenges and opportunities an ageing workforce brings; some are exploring innovative changes to their businesses as a result. As the world becomes more digital, new possibilities open up. The opportunity for businesses is to harness more talent, retain valuable experience and reduce staff turnover.
There is an opportunity for all of us individually, too. Staying in work for a few more years can make a significant difference to your income thereafter, and for most people, being in good appropriate work can be good for your health, both physical and mental.
Fuller Working Lives
A new strategy is calling on employers to boost the number of older workers and ensure they are not writing people off once they reach a certain age, helping to build a country that works for everyone.
It’s estimated that by mid-2030s people aged 50 and over will comprise more than half of the UK adult population. The government is encouraging people to take full advantage of the opportunities that work can bring, including seeking out a new career if they are feeling unfulfilled at work. A group of over 40 employers have spearheaded the new business approach to older workers.
As part of the new Fuller Working Lives strategy, ministers and business leaders have set out the social and health benefits of working longer. Highlighting the need for businesses to ‘retain, retrain and recruit’ older workers, the strategy outlines how a coalition of jobcentres and businesses can combine to support older workers to continue in their careers or take a new direction.
The strategy also highlights that:
- The average age of leaving the labour market has increased over the past two decades, but it is still lower than it was in 1950 and is not keeping pace with increases in life expectancy.
- There are challenges for the UK labour supply, given the ageing workforce and rate of exit from the labour market.
- As people approach State Pension age, the rate of employment declines and economic inactivity rates rise as they leave the labour market ‘early’. Over half of men and women are not in work in the year before reaching State Pension age.
- One in four men and one in three women reaching State Pension age have not worked for five years or more.
- By delaying retirement until 65 instead of 55 someone with average earnings could have £280,000 extra income and might increase their pension pot by 55%.
“Government leadership on this issue is vital, as we mobilise business to take action on age at work. This strategy, and the Government Business Champion for Older Workers launch that follows it on 6 February, represent a scaling up of call to action on later life working. Government is taking action where it is needed, in back to work support and mobilising Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). It is now for business to step up, and retain, retrain and recruit the older workers who are vital to the success of UK business, as they are the employees of today, and the talent pool of tomorrow.”
Rachael Saunders, Age at Work Director at Business in the Community
You can access the full report Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach on the Government website here.
Here at Fortyplus People, we are passionate about age diversity and believe that a mixed-age workforce is a successful resourcing strategy for every business.
As our population is ageing, older workers are our future workforce. The need to develop a long-term strategic approach to recruiting, retaining and retaining older workers is crucially important for businesses. In particular, industries with a higher proportion of workers will need to adapt their practices quickly to ensure they can retain and recruit the older workers who are fundamental to their workforce.