Executive Summary / Introduction
Research from the Centre for Ageing Better produced in partnership with Business in the Community calls for more employers to be more age-friendly and inclusive of those over 50, including doing more to tackle age discrimination
In 2018 UK job vacancies and numbers in work both hit record highs, adding to the pressure on employers to find and retain skilled staff. Growing skills and workforce shortages mean that businesses are competing for a shrinking pool of talent. Nearly one in three workers in the UK are aged 50 and over, and with the average employee in the UK in their 40s, this is set to grow over the next decade. With many more people working into their 60s and beyond, people aged 50 may have another 20 years of working life ahead of them. As the workforce gets older, the competition is now on for the best and most experienced staff. There are fewer school leavers, and the expectation is that it will become harder and harder to fill vacancies with workers from outside the UK. The older workforce is already a reality. Employers need to act now to attract and retain older workers or they will fall behind their competitors.
Compared to gender, race or disability, age is often neglected as a diversity issue. Under the Equality Act, employers have the same responsibilities and legal obligations in relation to age as to any other protected characteristics. However, our surveys and other evidence suggest that many employers and individuals don’t yet approach age discrimination in the same way.
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