Later Life  

Lack of career progression for over-50s

Lack of career progression for over-50s

Two-fifths of workers in their 50s feel they have little opportunity to progress despite more individuals working past retirement age.

Research from job board Totaljobs and recruitment firm Robert Walters, published yesterday (June 12), found 41 per cent of workers over 50 feel there is a lack of opportunities available to them at their current workplace, including training.

It also found that 72 per cent of 51-60 year olds are offered no opportunities to progress with their current employer.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 employees in their 50s, found more than a third (37 per cent) of individuals were working in middle management or below, showing room for progression with at least another decade of work before retirement.

The retirement age for women increased from 60 to 65 to be aligned with men's last year, and will rise to 66 for both men and women by 2020.

Alexandra Sydney, group marketing director at Totaljobs called on employers to cater to the needs of all generations at work warning that otherwise they could see a fall in engagement and productivity, especially among the older generation. 

She said: "Tackling age-related bias both during the recruitment process and within workplace culture is essential to fostering an inclusive environment that values longevity of experience, while also acknowledging that learning and development doesn’t become less relevant with age. 

"Older workers clearly see the value of training opportunities, so employers should look to understand where this cohort want to upskill, or even reskill, in order to further their career.

"Alongside this, promoting inclusive employment policies and highlighting progression paths is essential in making sure experienced workers feel valued. Failing to invest in older workers could lead to them feeling devalued and ‘checking out’ long before retirement."

When it comes to progression, workers in their 50s are uncertain of how to achieve this, the research found, with a third (34 per cent) stating they are not aware of what they need to do to secure a promotion. 

But with two thirds of employers reporting a skills shortage last year, over 50s could add value and boost output, according to the research. If progression paths aren’t made clear, 45 per cent of workers in their fifties will look for a role elsewhere.

Chris Hickey, UK chief executive at Robert Walters, said: "The fact remains that older workers will continue to represent a growing number and proportion of the labour market and so it is not wise to switch off training and development opportunities for those reaching a certain age.

"The key takeaway from our findings is that an ageing and underused workforce is not an issue of the future, but a problem that exists right now."

Last month (May 2019), research from Aviva found that half of 60 year olds are not willing to retire but believe their age has become a barrier to their career progression.

More than a third (37 per cent) of employees aged 60-64 believe there is age discrimination in their workplace, with 19 per cent saying that younger colleagues were favoured over the older generation.