Agile workplaces

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.
The UK population is ageing. By 2020 1 in 3 workers will be over 50 and by 2030 half of all adults in the UK will be over 50. It is vital that people are helped to work for longer. To encourage businesses to get involved and seek to retain more older workers in their workforces, Andy Briggs, Chair of the Business in the Community Age Leadership Team and Government Business Champion for Older Workers, set an ambitious target in February 2017 of an increase of 1 million workers age 50 to 69 by 2022. On the second anniversary of the target, we report on progress that has been achieved so far.

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.
Agile and flexible working is beneficial not only to employees but also to business as a whole. It is important that organisations create an inclusive culture which supports, not stigmatises flexible/ agile working. It must be seen as a business solution and be embedded into the organisations culture and not just seen as a ‘benefit’ for certain demographics for it to be truly embraced.