The Government has published a new guide, encouraging employers to make use of Britain’s growing older population, and warning that employers who ignore older workers could suffer skills shortages and lose an important competitive edge.
“Employing older workers”, published by the Department for Work and Pensions, warns that Britain is running out of workers. There are 13.5 million job vacancies which need to be filled over the next ten years, but only 7 million young people are projected to leave school and college over that time.
With people living and keeping fit for longer, the proportion of over-50s in the workforce is set to rise to a third of the workforce by 2020 (from 27% at the moment). On top of this, half of workers aged over 55 are proposing to work beyond the state pension age and the default retirement age has been abolished.
Yet research shows people aged over 50 are still the least likely to be recruited.
“We’re certainly not suggesting older workers take jobs away from younger people, nor that people should be continuing working into their 70s,” said Pensions Minister Steve Webb. “Instead, we’re saying it’s time businesses allow people to fulfil their professional potentials and that employers heed to the competitive edge older workers bring to their businesses.”
The new guide advises employers on how to hire and retain older workers in order to build a multi-generational workforce. Amongst the suggestions is offering apprenticeships and work experience opportunities to people of all ages.