Older workers would like more flexible working opportunities

A survey carried out on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has found that the majority of workers aged over 50 would ‘welcome more flexibility’ in the workplace. The survey, which polled more than 12,000 workers over the age of 50, revealed that 78 percent would like ‘more flexible hours’. A further 73 percent want to see more part-time positions being offered, while 63 percent wish for more training schemes to help them use new technology and gain new skills.

According to the survey, flexible working hours for older workers can ‘help them to balance their personal responsibilities and health concerns’, and also enable them to remain in work for longer.

Currently, 10.2 million people aged over 50 are in employment. In order to help combat age discrimination and protect the rights of older workers, the government has unveiled its Ageing Society Grand Challenge, which aims to promote a ‘vibrant and inclusive’ job market.

Commenting on the issue, Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, said: ‘We want to champion the role of older workers in the economy and ensure they have equal opportunities to both remain in and to find employment, so anyone who wants to can work for longer.’

The Flexible Working Taskforce was launched in the spring to promote a wider understanding of the benefits of flexible working practices, develop action plans and make recommendations that will feed into the evaluation of the Right to Request Flexible Working Regulations in 2019.

“With nearly three-quarters of UK businesses struggling to fill job vacancies, it makes sense to actively recruit and retain older workers and harness their skills, experience and work ethic,” said Jane Gratton, head of business environment at the British Chambers of Commerce.

“Age-friendly workplaces are good for businesses, and an inclusive working environment encourages people to succeed in all aspects of their life, building resilience and reducing workplace absenteeism.”

According to the Centre for Ageing Better, halving the “employment gap” between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s could boost GDP by up to £20 billion per year.