Over a million older people struggle to find employment

employmOver a million older people pushed out of the labour marketentMore than a million older people are struggling to find employment. This is according to the second in a series of reports being produced by Business in the Community around age and intergenerational workplaces. The Missing Million: Pathways back into employment, finds that the over 50s continue to face age discrimination and they are increasingly having to start their own businesses or go into unpaid work, when they would prefer to do otherwise. Older people are more likely to remain out of work once they lose a job and if they want to find new employment, the over 50s have to rely on their own resources and networks. The research, which feeds into BITC’s Age and Intergenerational Workplaces campaign, is being carried out in collaboration with The International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK).

Business and official support services have a crucial role to play in helping the over 50s become active members of the workforce and the report makes a number of recommendations:

  • Employers can help to ensure that traditional positions of employment are made available to older people when they look for work.
  • Considering that searching for jobs among older people is often carried out by people on their own, official support services also have a role to play in helping prepare older people for work and connecting them with appropriate job opportunities.
  • Both stakeholders are key to keeping older people from experiencing lower confidence, frustration, and disillusionment with the process of getting back to work

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre – UK, said: “This report dispels a number of myths around older people in the workplace but suggests that persistent stereotypes based on age serve as a significant barrier to employment for the over 50s. Employers thus play a crucial part in maximising the potential of older people as part of the labour force by adopting and exercising best practice in age management.”

Pathways back into employment follows on from The Missing Million: Illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s, which found that more than a million older people have been pushed out of the labour market for reasons beyond their control.

The third and final report, to be launched as a part of Responsible Business Week in April 2015, will set out detailed recommendations for business and for government.