‘Keep over-50s in work’: Altmann

‘Keep over-50s in work’: Altmann

Pensions specialist Ros Altmann has called for national efforts to encourage the over-50s to keep working.

In a 62-page report, A new Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit, the government’s business champion for older workers said encouraging the over-50s to work longer could boost the UK’s economic prospects and offer individuals social and psychological benefits.

Key recommendations
Fund a campaign to make the economic and business case for ensuring there are more older workers
Develop a national strategy to address skills gaps and training requirements for older people
Tackle age discrimination in the workplace using penalties and possibly whistleblowing
Use measures such as temporary national insurance relief to encourage the recruitment of older workers
Monitor age as a diversity characteristic

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Source: A new Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit

Ms Altmann wrote: “The over-50s are a major untapped resource – a hidden talent pool that can boost output, employment and living standards now and in the future.”

She cited National Institute of Economic and Social Research figures suggesting that if people worked an extra three years it would add up to 3.25 per cent to gross domestic product each year by 2033.

But she warned of barriers to people working longer, saying: “Outdated stereotypes, unconscious bias and age discrimination all contribute to preventing older people from staying in or returning to work.

“Other hurdles include low skills, lack of confidence, inadequately up-to-date qualifications, long-term health conditions, disabilities and the difficulty of combining work with caring.”

Ms Altmann called for the government to fund a major research and communications campaign, targeting both employers and individuals, to make an economic and business case for ensuring older people were in the workforce.

She recommended a government strategy to address adult skills gaps, penalties and whistleblowing to clamp down on age discrimination, improved Jobcentre service for older people and financial incentives for the recruitment of older workers.

She also said old age needed a rebrand in the media.

Adviser view

Lorreine Kennedy, head of later life advice for Hemel Hempstead-based Carematters, said: “More people are realising the benefits to working beyond the financial side, such as the social aspects.”