Business minister Pat McFadden urges employers to recognise skills and experience of older staff

Business minister Pat McFadden has urged employers to recognise the skills and experience older people can bring to the workplace.

Speaking at a business seminar hosted by the Department for Business yesterday, McFadden warned that by 2050 more than one-third of Europe’s population is expected to be over 60 years old, resulting in a population with different needs and skills.

He said: “Older people are increasingly the backbone of our economy. We should be recognising this and looking for ways to meet their needs, and to make the most of what older workers can offer.

“As we continue to invest in growth, we need to make the most of all our talent: and that means harnessing the skills of the older generation as well as the young. This will put us in the strongest possible position going forward.”

Employers at the event agreed workplaces needed to revolutionise ideas about how to engage the older workforce.

George Magnus, senior economic adviser at parcel delivery firm UBS, said: “No-one is suggesting people should be compelled to work in their 70s, but many do want to do just that and this could have many advantages – not least in their own financial and psychological wellbeing.”

A survey by the Age and Employment Network out last year warned older workers were one of the worst hit groups by the recession, with 47% of respondents being made redundant during the downturn.

By anticipating demand, businesses will be preparing themselves for the future and adapting to a changing population as the UK moves out of recession and continues to grow, McFadden added.

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