Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey was published last week and shows that a high number...read more
The 20th to 24th of November marks ‘National Older Workers’ week – a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate the value that experienced workers bring to a business.
ONS data suggests that there are more than 9.1million over 50’s currently employed, a trend which is set to increase in the coming years. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025 one in three workers will be 50 or over.
There are a number of reasons why people are reluctant to hang up their working boots. The most obvious reason is the financial benefits, which have become even more important in the current financial climate.
Zurich UK research* among 2,000 over 50’s, both still in employment and retired, shows that one in five (18%) older workers have delayed their retirement plans due to the cost-of-living crisis. People also choose to work for longer because it keeps them both mentally and physically active and allows people to remain socially active.
However, this demographic can sometimes feel overlooked by employers, and furthermore some people over 50 no longer feel comfortable applying for jobs.
Zurich UK’s survey, conducted earlier this year, shows that almost one in three (30%) over 50’s would be reluctant to look for a new job because they think companies do not welcome workers over 50 years old. Furthermore, one in five (18%) say that there is a lack of flexible working opportunities and worryingly, one in ten (10%) have experienced age discrimination.
The research suggests that over 50’s want flexible working arrangements. For instance, one in three (34%) would stay in the workforce longer if employers offer flexible hours and working patterns. Likewise, a quarter would work for longer if they could work from home (27%) and a similar number would even come out of retirement if they could choose where they work (28%).
The need for flexible work arrangements may become more important as we get older. One in six (16%) over 50s retire early to care for a loved one, but a third of these people would continue to work if there were a greater number of flexible opportunities available.
Zurich UK recognises the value that experienced workers can bring to the workforce. It was one of the first signatories of the ‘Age-Friendly Employer’ Pledge from the Centre for Ageing Better and this could be why almost a third (28%) of its workforce are over 50**. In fact, last year Zurich UK recruited 12% of over 50’s, up from 10% in 2018.
The business has been a flexible working advocate for over a decade and one reason the insurer is particularly appealing as an employer is because it offers all roles on a part-time, job-share or full-time basis. This, along with hybrid working being available for all employees, means people can have a good work-life balance.
Other ways Zurich UK has adapted to be a more attractive employer to experienced workers includes introducing a menopause policy, offering flexible retirement options, and upskilling employees regardless of age. In fact, over the last 12 months one in ten employees aged over 50 have engaged with online learning.
However, it is not just about offering flexible employment policies or training. One in five (22%) over 50s say they would work longer if the company culture welcomed and valued older workers. Zurich UK has worked hard to establish a friendly and supportive culture over the years.
A Randstad studyshows that 83% of people believe that they can produce more innovative ideas because they work in an age-diverse team. Diverse teams also benefit from a range of different perspectives which can be key to solving workplace challenges, and in-house mentoring.
This is why Zurich UK is supporting ‘Older Workers Week’ and other initiatives that encourage and support experienced workers. Zurich UK recognises the benefits of a multigenerational workforce and understands that its crucial to providing great products and first-class customer service. It welcomes applications from people of all ages and values the development of all employees, regardless of age or tenure. After all, age is only a number.
* Based on a Onepoll online survey of 2,000 over 50s (1,000 retired and 1,000 still in employment) between 22nd February and 3rd March 2023.
**Based on Zurich UK employee data.