Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey was published for National Older Workers Week and...read more
The period from September to December saw an even greater focus on labour market shortages and understanding the reasons why some older workers have dropped out of the workplace in the last three years.
In the four months to December we celebrated National Older Workers Week for the second time, highlighting best practice and the issues older workers are facing getting into and staying in work.
September saw an increased focus on the importance of attracting and retaining older workers as research showed the cost of living crisis is prompting many to return to work.
In employment news, employers were told they risk losing experienced staff if they don’t understand the challenges facing older workers and value what they have to offer, according to a Diversity & Inclusion report from recruitment consultancy Robert Walter.
Meanwhile, the number of over 65s in work has risen to just under 1.5 million, the highest ever recorded, according to the Office for National Statistics. And the Institute for Employment Studies warned that plans to force low-paid part-time workers to work more hours could make labour shortages worse. It says greater availability of part-time work could enable older workers who have left the labour force during the pandemic to return.
In pension news, research by My Pension Expert found a fifth of over 40s have delayed their planned retirement date because of the cost-of-living crisis
In health news, the ONS reported that workers in their 50s are more likely than those in their 60s to report health and disability reasons as a reason for not returning to work when compared with those in their 60s, who are much more confident about their finances than their younger counterparts and less likely to be looking to return to work.
October saw World Menopause Day and more reports on health-related issues and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on older workers.
The cost of living crisis is having an impact on older workers. More than 733,000 retirees across the UK are preparing to return to work as the cost-of-living crisis escalates, according to new research by My Pension Expert.
In labour market news, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said ill health was not the main reason many older people have dropped out of the UK workforce since Covid. Its analysis suggests that many economically inactive older workers with long-term health issues had already retired before the pandemic hit.
Meanwhile, experts called for the Government to do much more to tackle economic inactivity and to help people back into work instead of threatening to cut their benefits as ONS figures showed it continues to rise. The Health Foundation said the nation’s underlying ill-health – rather than long Covid or extended waiting lists – was the primary reason for the rise in the number of older workers leaving employment for health reasons.
There were also worries about the recession, with a report by Evelyn Partners and the Centre for Future Studies saying older workers could be disproportionately affected by future changes in the labour market as a new study shows the most common age to face redundancy is 51.
In menopause news, The All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause called for an employer-led campaign and improved guidance to boost support for menopause in the workplace. Meanwhile, two-thirds (66%) of perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal workers believe there is still a taboo surrounding the menopause, with over two-fifths (43%) saying that it has or could present a barrier in the workplace, according to research for World Menopause Day by KPMG. A report by Royal London found the menopause can have a dramatic impact on women’s pension savings and contribute to the gender pension gap. And research by Holland & Barrett showed almost two thirds of women (61 per cent) say they do not talk about the menopause, with 61 per cent citing fear of being ‘judged’ and treated differently as the reason.
In pension news, a new self-employment pension should be created through the tax system, with the government paying a bonus of three per cent of earnings to everyone who saves five per cent themselves, according to a report by the left-leaning Fabian Society.
In other news, Deloitte launched a “flexible pensions” policy for its UK staff, allowing people to temporarily pause their employer’s pensions contributions and instead receive that money on top of their salaries.
November saw the second annual National Older Workers Week, which kicked off with the findings of workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey. It found almost a third of older workers no longer have enough income to cover basic living costs, leaving one in 10 older workers no choice but to unretire and return to work to make ends meet.
In employment news, a report by the Institute for Employment Studies said that the UK has had among the worst employment recoveries in the world, fuelled by a shrinking workforce and lack of access to effective employment support as well as a poor record on employment for disabled people and older people. The report came at the launch of a major new Commission on the Future of Employment Support that will work over the next 18 months to gather evidence and develop proposals for far-reaching reform.The Commission is being hosted by the Institute for Employment Studies in partnership with the abrdn Financial Fairness Trust.
Labour market shortages fuelled some political action. The Chancellor announced plans for a review of the issues preventing people from working as well as a review of the pension age in view of ongoing labour market shortages.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of older workers who left the labour market as a result of ill health did so against their own wishes, with some saying the decision was taken out of their hands, according to a study by Demos.
A report by 55 Redefined and Reed Talent Solutions found almost a third (30 per cent) of over-50s who have retired have felt forced to do so and face big challenges getting back into the workforce if they choose to do so – while more than twice as many people left work because of economic inactivity than unemployment in the three months to October, according to Office for National Statistics figures.
In pension news, research by interactive investor found going part time in your mid 50s could boost your retirement wealth by allowing you to work for longer and draw on your pension for less time.
In menopause news, NHS England published its first guidance on the menopause to give managers a better understanding of what menopause is and ensure they are better equipped to offer them the support they need.
In employer news, Halfords announced it is creating 1,000 new automotive technician roles over the next years and is prioritising attracting retirees back into the workforce and more women. The motoring specialist says the new roles respond to increasing demand for vehicle servicing, MOTs, maintenance and repairs.
And The Centre for Ageing Better launched an Age-friendly Employer Pledge for businesses and organisations who want to address urgent skills and labour shortages and maximise the potential of older workers.
In other news, Moneysavingexpert.com warned that time was running out for people aged between 45 and 70 to significantly boost their pension income through paying more voluntary national insurance contributions.
This month saw WMPeople.co.uk – workingwise.co.uk’s parent company – announce the shortlist for the Top Employer Awards 2023, including the Best for Older Workers category. There was also more news related to economic inactivity and older workers with reports that the Government will offer midlife MOTs to older workers via pension providers to prevent them dropping out of the workplace or encourage them back to work.
In economic news, there continued to be a focus on why older workers have dropped out of the workplace in the last few years. As the ONS reported that the number of people who are economically inactive has fallen in the last quarter, mainly due to older people coming out of retirement, another ONS study found stress and lack of support have been key reasons for older workers aged 50 to 54 to drop out of the workplace, with a sizable number also wanting a change of lifestyle and feeling unvalued.
Meanwhile, a House of Lords committee said the impact of an ageing population as a contributor to the workforce squeeze is a factor which has not received the attention it deserves, given that early retirement is the biggest factor driving labour shortages since Covid.
As the cost of living crisis deepened, a report from Legal & General Retail found as many as 2.5 million pre-retirees may be forced to delay their retirement as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
In health news, a report from the Office for National Statistics found the relationship between Long Covid and economic inactivity is significantly higher in people over 50.
In gender-related news, a report by NOW: Pensions said the private pension incomes of underpensioned groups such as women, those who don’t own their own homes and those who work non-traditional patterns, remain below three-quarters of average population private pension incomes, with some groups experiencing significant declines since 2020.
In other news, Oxford University claimed that the first universal job guarantee experiment in the world has eliminated long-term unemployment while making participants happier, more financially secure and more involved in their community. And a new ‘Hospitality Guide to Recruiting Workers Aged 50+’ has been developed by UKHospitality in partnership with the Government’s over-50s Ministerial Taskforce to boost the number of older workers in the sector.