‘Fulfilling’ jobs for older workers could benefit health and wellbeing

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Maximising working opportunities for older people and offering fulfilling work beyond retirement age could have a profound impact on health and wellbeing, according to a report.

The International Longevity Centre UK’s Maximising the longevity dividend report has argued that offering older people rewarding employment can delay death, reduce the risk of people developing serious health problems, improve wellbeing and give a sense of purpose. However, offering poor quality work beyond retirement age will be likely to have the opposite effect.

The ILC stated that the share of the workforce aged 50 and over rose from 26% in 2004 to 32% in 2018, and estimated that people in this age bracket would account for 37% of the workforce by 2040.

David Sinclair, director of the ILC, said: “As the population ages there are enormous economic opportunities, but these are currently being neglected.

“Too many people face barriers to working and spending in later life – issues like inaccessible high streets, poorly designed products, and age discriminatory attitudes require a serious response.

“We’ve become accustomed to hearing our ageing population talked about as a bad thing – but the reality is it could be an opportunity.”

The report argued that the current barriers to getting more older people to remain in work included:

  • limited support for employees with health problems
  • age discrimination in recruitment
  • a lack of flexible working opportunities for staff with health and care needs
  • a lack of training and upskilling opportunities.

The report noted that people who worked for longer should also expect improved living standards in retirement, as they would be more likely to have accumulated wealth over a longer period of time.

Sinclair added: “Realising the longevity dividend will require decisive action – of the kind we’ve yet to see from either business or government. For all the talk of baby boomers dominating politics, we’ve yet to see a serious response to the opportunities and this needs to change.”

3 Responses to ‘Fulfilling’ jobs for older workers could benefit health and wellbeing

  1. Avatar
    peter durrant 9 Dec 2019 at 11:07 am #

    I do think, and I’m eighty-two, living alone with a background in community social/development work there is always a contribution to be made. Why not, for existence, identify people’s work and other background assets. Enabling us to think about linking, albeit for two half-ways a week for whatever, a dialogue for people who are ageing to think about common ground. We have so much to offer and are usually now committed to enabling skills for the common good. As opposed to being totally dismissed by society, especially if one lives on one’s own, and their/our backgrounds forgotten. Or, as I so with luck, work pro bono for the more radical parts the third sector. Although, in an over-competitive worlds their inability to work together means one’s knowledge is also, too often, ignored. But it would be much more useful to recognise our formal and informal experience by thinking about shared and cooperative ventures. We could even think about launching into the world of social and community enterprises working, with and not for, people who are ageing. Which, of course, is all of us.

  2. Avatar
    Abid Azeem 10 Dec 2019 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi Peter, Totally agreed with you!

  3. Avatar
    Alexander Stevenson 11 Dec 2019 at 12:17 pm #

    I would love it if we could have more pieces about how employers benefit from older workers (Answer: enormously). I worry that research into how work is good for older people turns this into a CSR issue for employers rather than what it should be, namely how to improve performance.

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