Thursday, 10 October 2019

Older workers becoming the norm?

Will age discrimination become an anachronism as almost one third of today's UK workforce are aged at least 50?


Russell Cavanagh writes about age discrimination and employment issues.

"As the UK becomes more reliant on older workers to meet labour and skill shortages, the world of work will change."

In an article published earlier this week on the website, Andrew Secker wrote: "The employment rate of workers aged 50-64 has doubled over the last 30 years, with those aged 50 and over already making up more than 30 per cent of the UK’s workforce."

Blaming a fall in the nation's birth rates, Secker continued: "As the UK becomes more reliant on older workers to meet labour and skill shortages, the world of work will change." (Read the full article here.)

Although Secker was primarily offering advice to company recruiters and hiring managers seeking to avoid legal pitfalls, he was in fact setting out a demographic that may bring comfort to we jobseekers and career changers of maturer vintage.

His assertion that over 30 percent of the workforce is aged 50+ is backed up reliably by data published in a June 2015 report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development titled Labour supply and the ageing workforce.

Somewhat confounded

Add too that "people aged 50 and over have made up nearly 80 per cent of the total employment growth over the past decade" (Telegraph article, 19 Feb 2019) and one is left somewhat confounded as to how any culture of age discrimination still exists in today's recruitment sectors.

Of course, many of us know that age discrimination does occur - perhaps from our own first-hand experiences or through anecdotal accounts from friends.

Tipping towards inevitability

But there must be a tipping point where no thought is given to workforces widening in terms of their age range. In fact, increases in state retirement pension ages signal this to be an inevitable eventuality.

Walk into pretty much any chain supermarket to see see baby boomers, generation x and younger people work next to each other behind tills.

The culture shift has clearly started.


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