Older staff need flexible work options

Employers must start providing better working conditions and provisions for
older employees or face difficulties in recruiting replacement staff in the
future.

Two separate reports show that changes are needed to build an older
workforce because of Britain’s ageing population and the reduction in young
people available for work.

Despite this, too few companies are addressing the impact of an ageing
demographic – even though the proportion of the population aged 50 and over
will rise from 33 per cent to 41 per cent in the next 25 years.

The Barclays survey, undertaken by Third Age Research, suggests employees
are more likely to work on after retirement age if companies offer a flexible
working environment, part-time work or less pressurised roles.

The removal of tax penalties, and the introduction of cash incentives to
reward loyalty, would also help employers persuade more staff to stay on at
work for longer.

However, a separate report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that
policy measures enabling people to work past retirement must not force people
to "work until they drop".

It says financial incentives would achieve little unless other barriers,
including age discrimination and negative attitudes, are removed so older
people could stay in the labour market longer.

Sam Mercer, director of the Employers Forum on Age, said introducing a few
policies was not enough because a major culture change was required.

"If we are going to work longer, we have to start working in a
different way. There needs to be flexible options for older staff and the rest
of the workforce," she said.

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