link.png Retain, retrain, recruit: keep older workers to boost the youth jobs market← Back

A new report commissioned by the government, looks at the benefits of having a multi-generational workforce. The report, conducted by Dr Ros Altmann CBE, is entitled 'A New Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit'.

The report uses the following statistics as a basis: “By 2022, there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in the UK - but 3.7 million more people aged between 50 and State Pension age.” It highlights that employment levels fall dramatically when people reach the age of 50. Altmann suggests, that contrary to popular belief, enabling those aged 50 or more to work for longer does not deprive young people of jobs. The report indicates that “Older and younger workers are not readily substituted for each other,” since both groups have different sets of skills. Altman looks at the findings from a NIESR publication which suggests that if people aged over 50 worked for an additional year, the country’s GDP would increase by 1% per year. With more people at work, the spending power of society goes up and boosts the economy, which, in turn, allows for the creation of more jobs.

The report identifies three key stages which need to be applied to help older workers – retain, retrain and recruit. Altman highlights the existence of discrimination in recruitment and encourages the government to tackle ageism. Services for older job seekers need to be made better and business need to develop a long-term outlook to retain workers. In addition it emerges that older workers are likely to stay at a job for longer than young workers, which can save businesses recruitment costs. Training for young people is already in place, but this needs to extend to older workers. Older people shouldn't be afraid of learning new skills or considering a career changeAltmann says that notions about retirement are outdated and proposes to “reinvent” it, including letting people transition into retirement over a longer period of time by dropping hours. 

Altmann’s findings suggest that “Demographic changes, coupled with rising longevity and improved health, present major opportunities for employers to harness the benefits of taking on older staff.”