Employers warned to support workers through retirement or lose out on skills

Employers could be losing vital skills from the workforce because they are failing to provide guidance to employees in the run-up to retirement, insurance and investment firm Aviva has warned.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last month showed that the number of people working beyond state pension age had almost doubled over the past two decades, rising from 754,000 in 1993 to 1.4 million in 2011.

However, Aviva has warned that employers could lose the experience and skills of older members of staff if they don’t engage with employees’ retirement planning or set out options like part-time working.

The warning comes after research by the firm found that 64% of organisations don’t offer any tailored retirement support to their employees. However, 70% of workers who received such support from their employers said they found it useful.

The survey found that, currently, exactly one employer in 10 offers workers approaching retirement the option of part-time or flexi-time employment.

Clive Bolton, “at retirement” director at Aviva, commented: “In order to motivate and retain staff, many employers invest heavily in them through the provision of pensions and other benefits, but then let them drift away at retirement without providing any advice or support.

“The end of the default retirement age and growing financial pressures have seen a growing trend towards ‘part-tirement’, whereby older people look to cut back on their working hours but are not yet ready to stop working altogether. Employers who do not offer tailored retirement support to explain the options available, such as ‘part-tirement’, could find they are giving up on valuable employees with years of experience and knowledge.”

According to the 13,610 over-55s surveyed by Aviva, the most useful forms of retirement support were workshops on retirement finances (35%) and written guidance on retirement finances (35%).

In addition, 27% said that they would have liked a dedicated member of staff to discuss retirement issues with.

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