Older workers need more support in the workplace, claims report

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Longer working lives have become a reality for millions, yet a significant number of older workers feel unsupported in the workplace, according to new findings from Aviva which claim to highlight the need for UK businesses to boost support for their older workforce. Almost two thirds (63 percent) of the 10.2 million over-50s in work – equivalent to 6.4 million people – are planning to retire later than they thought they would 10 years ago. Many of them are extending their working lives due to the rising cost of living (40 percent) and insufficient pension savings (38 percent).

Despite this, more than two fifths (44 percent) of people aged 50+ still in work feel unsupported by their employer when it comes to their career ambitions and objectives, compared to only 25 percent of those aged 25 to 34.

Aviva’s research claims that:

  • 63 percent of over-50s in work are planning to retire later than they thought they would 10 years ago.
  • 44 percent of older workers feel unsupported by their employer when it comes to their career ambitions.
  • Employees aged 50+ are more confident than those aged 25 to 34 about keeping up with the changing workplace and having relevant skills.

With a third of the UK workforce set to be aged 50+ by 20204, businesses are being urged to increase their commitment to older employees and help them adapt to a longer working life. By failing to support their staff, employers risk creating a disheartened and discouraged over-50s workforce.


Lost opportunities: employers missing out on the talent and experience of over-50s

Aviva’s latest findings suggest employers could be missing out when it comes to the skills and experience their older workforce can offer. The study claims that those aged 50+ are more confident about their ability to keep up at work (41 percent) and their relevant skillset (37 percent) than their younger counterparts (36 percent and 33 percent for those aged between 25 to 34).

Despite UK employees working longer than ever before, Aviva’s research suggests that progress in the workplace – in terms of the forms of support offered to this older generation – has been slow.

Factors such as the ability to work flexitime have only increased slightly from 12 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2018. However, access to other forms of workplace support – including guidance on retirement finances – has remained static.

Aviva’s research claims to highlight the benefits this type of support can provide for employees. For those older workers who do have access to support, three quarters (75 percent) agree that it was useful, with a fifth (21 percent) stating that workplace support played an important role in their later life.