With the number of pensioners in the UK forecast to rise
by half by 2030, and the over-85s to double, it’s no surprise that the impact
on society of an ageing population has been given an increasing amount of media
Just a few weeks ago it was
suggested that ‘Britain is 'woefully'
under-prepared for the rising number of elderly people’, with both the Government and
businesses failing to address the implications of our ageing population. The statement
follows a report from the House of Lords’ public service and demography committee
and, whilst many may deem it to be a simple case of ‘scaremongering’, it highlights
a worrying truth that should be a cause for concern far beyond the issue of pensions
to a recent Guardian article,
ten years ago there were 500,000 people in work over the age of 65. Today, that
figure is approaching one million, with a rise of 270,000 since 2009. However,
despite many employees now choosing to work past the traditional retirement age
of 65, businesses are overlooking valuable skills and opting not to invest in
this growing generation of older workers.
The Lords’ public service and demography committee has
called for employers and the government to work together to help older people
remain in the workforce, but this
alone is not enough to put things right. Whilst enabling the older generation
to remain in the workplace for longer is a vital step in addressing the issue
of an ageing population, it will only work if accompanied by a change in
thinking by organisations. This includes reworking HR policies and practices to
meet the needs of this growing number of older workers in UK businesses.
Our research shows that currently only 8% of UK companies
invest in training for the over 60s, but if we are to remain in the workplace
longer then this has got to change.
Businesses need to take the lead and
encourage older workers to enhance their skill set by offering both a job and
training in one package, as they do for the younger generation. To ensure that
all employees feel engaged, businesses can start by:
- Making sure managers and
supervisors do not introduce age ‘cut offs’ simply because of their assumptions
about different age groups
- Ensuring training and
development is seen as an integral part of the culture of the business, with
employees of all ages being actively involved in identifying their own
- Monitoring the take-up of
training to ensure that all employees are aware of the opportunities and are
encouraged to take them up.
Organisations need to be preparing for this shift now or
risk damaging the future development of their business.
All bullet points refer to Age Positive business checklist: https://www.gov.uk/employer-preventing-discrimination