Older Workers and the Digital Era

Executive Summary / Introduction

The ageing population is leading to an older talent pool, this talent pool is not receiving the training and skills development they need to succeed in the digital era, and with technology shaping the jobs of tomorrow, the results raise concerns about future skills shortages within the UK workforce. 

The report, 'The Missing Link: An ageing workforce in the digital era, aims to help business address the gaps in their training and calls on employers to support older workers to be 'digital adopters', ensuring that development and work opportunities are accessible. 

  • Only 25% of employees aged 50-59 and 22% of those aged 60-69 felt their employer encouraged them to take up learning and development opportunities, compared to 44% of 18-39 year-olds and 32% of 40-49 year-olds.
     
  • Older workers were also more likely to feel that their employer did not inform them about how technology and automation would impact their job compared to younger employees

Jenny Lincoln, Age Research and Policy Manager, Business in the Community, said: "Too few older workers are getting the training and information they need to prepare for increased automation and technology in the world of work. With a rising retirement age, and fewer young people entering the workforce, it’s vital that employers invest in training older workers so that they are equipped with both the skills and confidence to make the most of the digital age. By supporting older workers to be 'digital adopters' employers can show they value experience, ambition and ensure that their businesses are prepared for future skills shortages."

Recommendations from the report include creating a company culture of lifelong learning, developing targeted training and reskilling support for specific groups of older workers, and clearly communicating the impact of automation and technology.

The Full Story

Through a survey of 2,000 employees, 1,000 of whom were over 50, this report provides a unique insight into older workers’ attitudes towards skills, training and automation in the digital era. Workers over 50 make up a significant and growing part of the future workforce, but most are not benefitting from the work opportunities that the digital revolution offers. This is an opportunity for employers to challenge assumptions about older workers’ ambition and capability, and upskill them now.

Take Action

Workers over 50 make up a significant and growing part of the future workforce but most are not benefitting from the work opportunities that the digital revolution offers. Employers have an opportunity to challenge assumptions, about older workers' ambition and capability, and upskill them now, to prevent skill shortages in the future. Your organisation can utilise these recommendations to address the issues and make your culture truly inclusive.
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