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By Amanda | 02-08-2019

We talk about how people are working for longer and what the benefits are of employing older employees

“Here at Arrow Self Drive around 1% of our workforce are over 60. I find they are very punctual, reliable, they are happy to talk to customers and want to work hard and keep busy. There is a distinct difference in people who need to work and those who want to. Also because of their generation they have an old school attitude; they are open and friendly which is great for our Company as we separate ourselves from the competition by focusing on customer service excellence.”

More and more of us are working for longer as the pensionable age, which used to be 60 for women and 65 for men, creeps up and up and our life expectancy increases. Retirees can expect a lengthening retirement and many will keep working during that time, either due to an appetite for employment or because of financial shortfalls. 

According to the latest Office for National Statistics figures, between December 2017and February 2018, almost 1.2 million people over the age of 65 were in work; 10.2% of the entire age group. The proportion of people of pensionable age who are still working has almost doubled in the last twenty five years

For some people, that is a positive thing. Some people are happy to keep working as long as they can; it keeps them busy they say, it keeps them alert and active,  keeps them connected, it keeps them from under the feet of their spouse.

Then there are others who are fed up of working, who have looked forward to being able to sit back with a cuppa and reap the rewards of a lifetime of hard work, to chillax and enjoy time spent with family and friends. Maybe take up a new hobby, maybe travel, maybe retire to warmer climes.

But the matter of choice isn’t an option for many people. Practically many simply have to work to bridge the gap between their take home pension and living expenses. With an average weekly pension that doesn’t even cover the costs of running a humble home, many people simply have to supplement their pension with a wage. The rising cost of living and poor returns on savings means that up to three-quarters of British workers simply cannot afford to retire. Almost half will be over 70 before they can give up work.


So what jobs do pensioners want?

According to a 2011 Census, 16.7% of the over-65 workforce in England and Wales were employed either in the wholesale or retail trade. 11.8% worked in health or social work, 9.7% in manufacturing, 9.4% in education and 7.8% professional, scientific and technical jobs. Surprisingly the construction industry employed 7.7% of those still working at that age.

In the past anyone past the age of fifty five would struggle to compete with the younger job applicants, but sinceThe Equality Act 2010, unfair treatment of UK employees of all ages has become outlawed and it is no longer compulsory to state your age on your CV.

However ageism still exists out there. Research exists to show many job seekers feel they have been unfavourably discriminated against whether through intent or subconscious bias.According to a recent survey by CV-Library, a third of professionals revealed that they have been turned down for a job because of their age.

Changing the mind-set

A third of the population will be over fifty within two years time. Add to this the fact that immigration numbers are being reduced, and we quickly see that older people, far from being seen as a hindrance, should be seen as a precious resource for recruitment.

A few recruitment companies have recognised the population dilemma and have a portfolio of jobs suitable for the over 65s market. Some recruitment companies specialise in the placement of ageing employees such as Vercida and Rest Less, working with“employers who see the value that age and experience can bring to the workplace”, companies including The Co-op and B& Q.

As the ageing population increases and the pension age gets pushed further towards 70 and there is a shift in theUK workforce demographic,we are going to see an increase in those who provide opportunities for older people to find work. But what we need is to see a change in the perceptions about age in the way in which employers value mature employees.

So what are the benefits of employing older people?

There are many benefits from their older workers phasing their retirement through part-time or flexible working. For a start, as much as £180 billion a year could be put back into the economy if we put our ageing sector to work. Mature employees bring many attributes to a business and can be a true asset to your company. These include;

  • Experience and wisdom
  • A different perspective on business operations
  • Improvements in business processes 
  • Mentoring to less experienced employees 
  • The sharing skills with younger employees
  • Punctuality
  • Reliability
  • Loyalty
  • High productivity.
  • Happiness to the workplace
  • A lower rate of absenteeism 
  • Flexibility


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