Default retirement age is well past its sell-by date

I have been following with great interest Age Concern’s battle with the European Court of Justice to banish the compulsory retirement age of 65 (‘Heyday retirement age decision “hugely disappointing” for staff’,, 24 September).

While it’s fair to say that a sizeable chunk of employers will welcome the preliminary failure of this case, I wonder how many of them have studied what omitting this age group from their workforce would actually mean?

At Penna, our research on generational diversity conducted with 5,500 employees across six European countries, has shown that the majority of veterans (aged 60 plus) would be more than happy to consider working beyond retirement with the aid of flexible working hours. Furthermore, almost half are also seeking to coach, mentor and advise younger colleagues, meaning that employers who dispense with older workers could potentially be eliminating an extensive knowledge bank that could greatly benefit the other generations within the workforce.

The research also shows that older workers are far more likely to be engaged and display discretionary effort at work, which will, in turn, produce greater results. Default retirement is simply cutting short employers’ talent and resource pools, which now more than ever are the key to business survival.

Anne Riley, managing director, Penna Recruitment Communications

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