Ageism costing UK plc billions

The failure
to tackle ageism is costing the UK economy £31 billion a year, according to a
report commissioned by the Employers Forum on Age.

The report,
Ageism Too Costly To Ignore, found that the cost of ageism has risen by £5 billion
since 1998.

Ray Baker,
chair of the EFA and DIY store B&Q’s employment and diversity controller,
warned that the report sounded a clear wake-up call for employers and the Government.

He said,
“This is another reason to ensure that ageism isn’t over-looked by employers.”

The report
reveals that in the last two years the number of people aged between 50 and 64
who are not in work and are currently not seeking work has grown by 125,000.

The EFA is
calling for the government to challenge the UK’s ageist culture by taking
action in three key areas. Firstly, the EFA is calling for the government to
introduce a flexible retirement policy as current pension regulations prevent
workers over 65 from drawing a pension and a salary at the same time.

The report
claims that by introducing flexible retirement policies to the UK economy, GDP
could be raised by £50 billion or more per year.

recommendations cited in the report include raising employers’ awareness of the
business benefits of older workers and the Government working to increase the
employability of these workers by investing in their skills.

Baker said,
“Lifelong learning must be part of the business agenda. It’s vital that
employers consider the continuous development of their workforce.”

By Karen Higginbottom

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