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.
Older workers’ health
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.”