The Business Case
With an ageing population, business needs to take action now to prevent early exit from the workforce, support later life working and make the most of intergenerational workplaces.
Currently, 10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old and this number is projected to nearly double, to around 19 million, by 2050. The first person who will live to 150 has already been born.
''The effects of an ageing population are apparent even in the short term.
Between 2012 and 2022, an estimated 12.5 million jobs will be opened up through people leaving the workforce and an additional 2 million new jobs will be created, yet only 7 million new young people will enter the workforce to fill these jobs''.
Rachael Saunders, Age at work Director, Business in the Community
The current labour market isn’t working for this ageing workforce:
- A missing million people over 50 have already been forced out of work. Too many people leave work involuntarily, earlier than they would have chosen, with serious consequences for health and pension provision.
- When retiring in your fifties isn’t viable, a new route is needed for those in manual work which is harder to undertake as you get older.
- Whilst there are knowledge workers with the economic power to negotiate flexible later life careers, many of those who need to work longer, mostly women with broken work histories dictated by care and childcare, are stuck in the lowest paid work.
Employers must take action now
Adapting to an ageing population is key to responsible business. The need to develop a long-term strategic approach to recruiting and retaining older workers and managing an intergenerational workforce is crucially important for businesses – in tackling skills gaps and in the development of the products and services that will allow their business to thrive with an ageing population.
We are asking employers to acknowledge this changing landscape and adapt their working processes to ensure that an ageing and inter-generational workforce has equal access to employment.
Campaign aim 1: Prevent early exit
Our research found a missing million of people between 50 and state pension age who have been forced out of work. We need to tackle barriers such as health and caring responsibilities to prevent early exit, and deal with the challenges and unconscious bias in the recruitment processes that make it hard to for the over 50s to secure employment.
The Missing Million: Illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50's
The Missing Million: Pathways back to employment
Recommendations for action are included in both research pieces.
Campaign aim 2: Support later life working
1.1 million people1 are already working beyond state pension age. They are the pioneers – more of us will choose or need to work in later life. Business needs to flex and adapt to that change.
Campaign aim 3: Support intergenerational workforces
Intergenerational workplaces are a huge opportunity - different age cohorts have shared experiences which have an impact on how they see the world. Employers need to identify and understand what different management techniques are required for managing intergenerational workforces, from millennials through to the baby boomers who are redefining retirement.
1 Missing Million: Recommendations for Action