Viewpoint: Canada Life’s Paul Avis: What can employers do to help older staff?


“The person who works and isn’t bored isn’t outdated,” stated Spanish composer Pablo Casals in 1985, however in 2019, we can not keep away from the truth that UK workforce is ageing.

It is a development that exhibits no signal of stopping: by 2050, one in 4 folks within the UK will likely be aged 65 years or older.[1] In the meantime, current analysis from Canada Life Group Insurance coverage reveals that just about three quarters of UK workers gained’t be capable to retire by the age of 65. [2]

Whereas inflation has slowed in current months, the rising price of requirements has hit workers throughout the nation, as have poor financial savings returns from low rates of interest. Over the previous years, this has compelled folks to delay their retirement plans.

Drivers behind the UK’s ageing workforce

Many people is not going to realise we have to work for longer till we enter our late 50s or early 60s. “Technology X” – the favored time period for folks aged roughly between 35 and 54 – is most certainly to work past 65. This age group can be on the peak of its monetary tasks [3] and is struggling to save lots of for retirement, whereas additionally offering financially for his or her youngsters and doubtlessly their mother and father too. One in 5 (20%) count on to retire after their 75th birthday.

However it’s not all doom and gloom – not everybody begrudges the considered working past 65. Many UK workers cite non-monetary causes for eager to work past the normal retirement age. The social element a working surroundings brings for older folks can’t be underestimated, and lots of see no level in retiring so long as they get pleasure from their job and the advantages it brings.

For the time being, the UK isn’t ready to help an ageing workforce. A current report by accountancy agency PwC revealed that the UK financial system is perhaps accruing a lack of practically £200bn per 12 months to GDP as a result of it isn’t catering sufficiently for an older workforce. [4] With solely eight% of UK workers believing that the federal government promotes the help of older staff, the chance lies with employers to deal with this subject.

Methods of help

Any help system needs to be rooted within the HR division. For instance, revenue safety, life insurance coverage and important sickness cowl present invaluable consolation for many who concern exterior elements like their well being would possibly affect their skill to work into outdated age.

Employers also needs to take into account the modifications they may make to the bodily workplace area to higher help older staff. For instance, 10 million folks in England and Scotland endure from persistent again ache, a situation that turns into extra widespread with growing age. [5] Small modifications to workplace gear, equivalent to offering adjustable or extra snug seating, could make an enormous distinction and create a extra supportive surroundings for older staff.

Retaining and retraining for a spread of abilities

It’s not nearly offering the precise gear although. Within the case of older staff, a supportive surroundings additionally signifies that (re-)coaching and upskilling alternatives needs to be made obtainable.

There’s a persistent false impression that older staff are slower to study new abilities than youthful workers, and so there may be an underlying assumption that investing in coaching for them doesn’t yield as large a return.

However quite the opposite, analysis exhibits older workers yield larger returns from casual and role-relevant coaching fairly than wider enterprise or business coaching [6], which might be cheaper and has motivating results on your entire workforce.

Altering perceptions

The coaching and help of older staff have to be supplemented with an actual effort to vary unfavourable perceptions about older folks within the workforce. In 2019, round one in seven (14%) UK workers are nonetheless involved that older staff make it tougher for younger folks to maneuver up the profession ladder, or that they don’t have the precise abilities to supply something related to a 21st century workforce.

To help an ageing workforce, employers have to encourage inclusive working practices and talent sharing throughout all ages. Employers have a big function to play in altering the best way we view older staff, and sometimes small modifications can have a huge impact. Practically half (41%) of individuals within the UK are nervous that their well being will make it tough to work previous the age of 65.

By adapting and offering extra help for older staff, employers will likely be in a greater place to have interaction, retain and help them and finally profit from their contributions.

Paul Avis is advertising and marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance coverage

[1] ONS:
Dwelling longer and old-age dependency – what does the longer term maintain? 24 June 2019

[2] Canada Life Group Insurance coverage: Over 23 million UK workers to work past the age of 65 as rising prices and poor returns on financial savings start to chunk, 29 Might 2019

[3] Canada Life Particular person Safety analysis, March 2018

[4] PwC Golden Age Index: How properly are the OECD economies harnessing the facility of an older workforce? 2018 replace

[5] Arthritis Analysis UK: State of Musculoskeletal Well being 2018

[6] College of Wuerzburg, College of Enterprise Administration and Economics: Coaching older workers: what’s efficient?, 2015


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