Supporting Older Employees In The Workplace

British employers are becoming more reliant on older works due to the ageing population. Health issues can be influential when it comes to people’s attitudes to remaining in work. Poor health can be a cause for early retirement, likewise, good health can also cause for older workers to retire early and invest time in other interests. A lot of older workers are now healthier than ever, so it is essential that employers do not have prepossessed ideas about an employee’s health, while also being aware of workplace adjustments they may need to make to support older workers.

In addition, the research stated that the ageing population also means there will be an estimated nine million carers in the UK by 2037, many of whom will be trying to balance both care and employment.

Reports released by the CIPD highlighted the UK’s policy framework for supporting older workers and creating fuller working lives are well developed in comparison to several other European countries.

There has been a 10% increase in the number of UK workers currently over the age of 50 compared to 20% in the 1990s. The CIPD is encouraging employers to put the facilities and support in place to assist older workers as they represent a growing proportion of the workforce.

Rachel Suff, CIPD employment relations adviser, said: “We need to legitimise and support working carers and their place in the labour market. These individuals account for an increasing share of the UK’s workforce, but often feel uncomfortable talking about their situation which results in it being a hidden issue. Employers have a responsibility to raise awareness and train line managers to support employees with caring responsibilities and help them to stay in work.

Flexible working is key to extending working life for people in a wide range of circumstances, and should be a critical component of any strategy to support working carers. This doesn’t just mean offering non-traditional hours, it’s also about creating more flexibility in roles and areas of responsibility which enable people to cope with their personal and professional commitments.”

Suff continued: “We need to encourage all employers to see older workers as an opportunity rather than a challenge. With a wealth of experience and transferable expertise, they can benefit the wider workforce and the business as a whole. Although it can be challenging for employers to counter people’s broader societal perceptions, ignoring the issues can hinder effective, intergenerational working.”


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