Older workers account for a growing proportion of the UK workforce. As such, it is increasingly important to understand more about the working experiences of older individuals as well as the potential impact changes in the age composition of workplaces may have on their performance.
(1) the proportion of workers aged 50 and over in the workforce rose from 21 per cent in 2004 to 24 per cent in 2011;
(2) the proportion of older workers in workplaces varies depending on a number of characteristics: industry; region; occupational group; workplace age; size; union recognition; and the presence of equal opportunities policies;
(3) the age composition of private sector workplaces does not have a significant role to play in explaining performance;
(4) equal opportunities policies have become more widespread, but practices have not;
(5) older workers are less likely to receive training than other workers, but those that do are satisfied with the training offered;
(6) on average, older workers report higher job satisfaction, wellbeing and perceptions of fair treatment than younger workers; and
(7) employees of all ages, who were able to work flexibly were more likely to be positive about their job.
Conclusions and implications
The majority of British workplaces do employ at least some older workers. But although the number of older individuals in employment is rising, employment rates still drop sizeably when people reach their 50s and 60s. Existing legislation has already sought to encourage participation and retention of older individuals in the labour market, and to address age-related discrimination.
While there has been an increase in the prevalence of formal equal opportunities policies explicitly mentioning age, far fewer workplaces have age-related equal opportunities practices in place. Findings from qualitative research commissioned alongside this study suggest some employers are wary of monitoring by age in case this is seen as discriminatory. This may be an area in which employers need reassurance.
Improving the experiences of older workers is important if individuals are to be encouraged to remain in employment for longer. While for some outcomes, such as job satisfaction, older workers on average appear to fare better than other workers, this conceals variation among this group. It may therefore be worthwhile to consider placing particular emphasis on improving outcomes for those older workers who currently have the poorest experiences at work.
The presence of age-related policies and practices was not typically associated with outcomes for older workers, with the exception of pay. Generating better outcomes for older workers may therefore require greater focus on other employer practices, such as provision of exible working or job design. These may have bene ts for employees of all ages, not just older workers.
Our results indicate that for private sector workplaces, the age composition of the workforce does not appear to play a sizeable role in explaining workplace performance. While a fall in the proportion of workers aged 22-49 was associated with a fall in workplace labour productivity, this was not carried through to nancial performance. Research has indicated that many employers value older workers, recognising their experience, loyalty and reliability. There may also be broader benefits for others within the workplace; we find some evidence that job satisfaction was higher among young workers in workplaces which employed higher proportions of older workers.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Older workers and the workplace: evidence from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey
Older Workers in Europe – A significantly larger increase in employment than the one observed for the general population (1997‐2011)
European welfare states are under stress: demographic and social changes are leading to increasing demands in terms of expenditures at a time when the population in working age is shrinking. In the face of this observation, academic economists have been promoting the idea of increasing the employment rate of the elderly as one key policy … Continue reading
While employers often tend to shy away from hiring older workers, they might want to reconsider if they’re looking for someone with strong decision-making skills, a new study finds. Research by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas revealed that older decision makers were more … Continue reading
Today, a decreasing percentage of counseling, job matching, and job development services are staff-assisted. American Job Centers do not currently have dedicated staff specializing in job development and job placement for older workers. Selected Public Workforce Development Programs in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers provides a selective review of public workforce development … Continue reading
The European Union (EU) has experienced significant growth in the employment of workers ages 55 to 64, which has far outpaced the growth of older-worker employment in the United States. An initial look might lead to the conclusion that the EU is ahead of the United States in employing older workers. However, the historical performance … Continue reading
Older Workers Who Lost Their Jobs During The Great Recession In US – Stronger welfare policies would have helped their mental health research finds
The old cliché states, “Money doesn’t make you happy”, but is this really true? In new research, Carlos Riumallo-Herl finds that wealth had an insulating effect against depression for older workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession in the U.S. He finds that in comparison to workers in the U.S., those in Europe … Continue reading
A fresh batch of data from Statistics Finland shows seniors facing a growing risk of unemployment as they age. A Tampere University researcher says the reason for the trend could be the constantly rising lower age limit for pre-retirement unemployment benefits. Employment data show that the age at which over-50 year olds face the risk … Continue reading
A frequent question is: “I’ve heard the participation rate for older workers is increasing, yet you say one of the reasons the overall participation rate has fallen is because people are retiring. Is this a contradiction?” Answer: This isn’t a contradiction. When we talk about an increasing participation rate for older workers, we are referring … Continue reading
Most apprenticeships offered by UK employers are given to existing members of staff, making it harder for young people to get on the schemes, an expert said yesterday. Speaking at a Work Foundation conference on skills in London, Lizzie Crowley, senior researcher at the Work Foundation, said: “Around 80% of apprenticeships go to existing members … Continue reading
YOUNGER bosses who nag older workers to take redundancies, tell them they\’re too old to receive training or deny them promotion are forcing thousands into early retirement. By also refusing to hire older workers they are adding to the nation’s ballooning health and welfare costs by pushing otherwise productive people on to the aged or … Continue reading
Promoting quality employment for older workers is crucial to boosting growth and ensuring a financially sustainable pension system, according to a new OECD report on ageing and employment policies in France. Working Better with Age in France emphasises that the transition from employment to retirement comes especially early and poses problems for many older workers. … Continue reading
Older Workers in Canada / Over one-half of workers aged 55 to 64 who left long-term jobs between 1994 and 2000 were re-employed within a decade
Many older workers who leave long-term jobs do not fully enter retirement. In fact, over one-half of workers aged 55 to 64 who left long-term jobs between 1994 and 2000 were re-employed within a decade Continue reading
Unemployed Older Workers in US / One’s past hard work and successes can become the very thing that keeps one from finding a new job
There are currently more than 4 million Americans who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. This figure doesn’t include those who work part-time or on contracts — or those who, discouraged, have simply stopped trying. Many of them are older and well educated, and their situation doesn’t seem to be improving despite America’s slow … Continue reading
Older Workers / How long do older unemployed workers conduct their job searches before deciding to retire ?
Unemployed people who have these resources retire more rapidly than those who cannot afford to do so, regardless of their job prospects. The results suggest that for job separations that do not lead to an immediate retirement, about half of the jobless spells end in retirement and half in re-employment. Among jobless spells that do end in retire- ment, most do so within a year after separation. Continue reading
Marie Mathis of Boonton, an award-winning marketing pro, finds herself in a predicament. In the three years since she was downsized, the 48-year-old has upskilled, consulted, freelanced and done contract work. These days, she holds a marketing position for a start-up technology company. Staff meetings are in Starbucks. Mathis loves the work — except for … Continue reading
Companies looking to ditch older employees can be creative in the ways they try to avoid age discrimination claims. Here are 11 of their sneakiest ploys Continue reading
The older you are, the harder it is to get a job if you\’re unemployed. In 2013 the average length of unemployment for workers over the age of 50 was 53 weeks, compared to 10 weeks for teenagers, according to the United States Department of Labor. Helping older people who lose their jobs deal with … Continue reading