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Andy Briggs, CEO, Aviva UK & Ireland Life and Chair of the Business in the Community Age at Work Leadership Team: “The UK has an ageing population and therefore an ageing workforce. The rising state pension age and the fact that most people are not saving enough for their retirement also creates a critical need for the industry to take action to ensure  people can work longer, with opportunities that continue to be fulfilling and make best use of their skills and experience.  This shift in demographics needs to be harnessed by business, not feared, because there are real advantages to any business in having a diverse and representative workforce.”

Our population is ageing, but employment isn’t working for many people over 50. While some can choose to retire, too many people are pushed out of work through redundancy or ill health, or because they need to balance work and care.
The need to retain, retrain and recruit older workers is becoming increasingly important. We no longer have a default retirement age but established social norms entrenched over a long period of time must be addressed to ensure that recruitment and progression are fair for men and women of all ages. Real change is needed to address age bias and discrimination.
This report sets out the barriers and obstacles to fulfilling work in later life, and describes the opportunities we have identified to drive real change. Business in the Community member organisations have allowed us to share their stories in this document, alongside those of our Leadership Team.
Sometimes older workers are invisible or considered too experienced and over qualified. Find out how you can avoid these common myths.
This report is a call for action. It is the third in the Missing Million report series produced in partnership with the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK), and sets out practical recommendations for business and government to address the pressing issue of age at work.
Why it MattersOur population is ageing. 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. As we all live longer and healthier lives, we will also need to work for longer to pay towards our pensions, health and social care in older age. The changes that come with population ageing will leave some groups at a particular disadvantage – including the low paid, with few pension savings, and manual workers whose job is harder to do as they age. Not only do we have the missing million people who have been forced out of work before retirement age, but we also have 1.1 million people who are currentlyworking beyond state pension age. They are the second missing million – widely ignored in policy making and public discourse, yet vital as they set the precedent for the future model of working lives.

14% of employees over the age of 50 believe they have been turned down for work due to their age, and nearly half (46%) think their age would disadvantage them when applying for a job. 
Nearly one in five (18%) have or considered hiding their age in applying for a job since turning 50. 

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.
Greater engagement of older workers will help to fill skills gap says Barclays.