Business in the Community responds to the announcement that the government is committed to seeking an increase in the number of people in work over 50.
“Business in the Community welcomes the government Fuller Working Lives strategy and welcomes the continuing commitment of the Secretary of State, Damien Green, and Minister for Employment, Damien Hinds, to this agenda.
“It is important also to thank Baroness Altmann for putting this issue on the map as the previous Government Business Champion for Older Workers, and for her continued focus on this issue when Pensions Minister, and now as a member of the House of Lords.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to seeking the increase the number of people in work over 50. Our Missing Million report, in collaboration with ILC-UK, set out the dramatic drop off on labour market participation post 50. As we are all living longer, we cannot afford for people to be pushed out of work in mid-life. On Monday, the Business in the Community age at work leadership team, in our role as Government Business Champion for Older Workers, led by Andy Briggs, will launch a target for UK business on the employment of older workers. It is time for business to take on the baton. Employers hold the key to change.
“It is unsurprising that government research has found that employers are nervous about the legal niceties of monitoring and taking action on age. Responding to an ageing workforce is a new issue for responsible business. Organisations should feel confident in taking action on age as they would any other equality strand. We are here to support employers respond and take action, including as a valuable first step through our free benchmark tool, which is the most effective route to understanding their internal data and metrics and knowing where they can take most impactful action.
“There is some cause for optimism in this government data set. It reports that good knowledge around pensions’ issues has increased from 33% in 2011 to 47% today. The average age of leaving the labour market has increased over the last two decades, although it is still lower than it was in 1950.
“We should be concerned, though, that over half of men and women are not in work the year before state pension age. That is a recipe for poverty in old age, and a benefits bill we cannot afford. It is time to take action.”
Business in the Community’s Leadership Team on Age at Work is the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers. The organisations that sit on this Leadership Teamare: Aviva UK Life, Barclays Plc, the Department of Work and Pensions, EY, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Home Instead, Mercer, RAF, The Co-Operative Group, and Walgreen Boots Alliance, as well as a partnership with the Centre of Ageing Better.
The age at work campaign at Business in the Community is committed to ensuring that an ageing population has equal access to employment, supporting employers to prevent an early exit from working life, support later life working and support intergenerational workforces. In September 2016, the campaign’s Leadership Team was appointed the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, tasked with leading work to support businesses to recruit, retain and retrain older workers and to identify and share demonstrable solutions for employers.
Business in the Community and the Centre for Ageing Better will work together on a more detailed response to the government on the Fuller Working Lives strategy.