The ageing workforce in numbers

We’re getting older

There were 19.8m people aged 50 and over in the UK in 2002. The number is projected to increase by a further 37 per cent by 2031, when there will be close to 27 million people aged 50 and over.

Life expectancy for both men and women has continued to rise. In 2002, life expectancy at birth for females born in the UK was 81, compared with 76 for men. This contrasts with 49 for men and 45 for women in 1901.

Source: National Statistics, 2004

We’re working longer

The proportion of women in their 50s in employment in the UK increased from around 59 per cent in early 1993 to 67 per cent in winter 2003-04. The number of men in employment aged between 50 and state pension age increased from 65 per cent in early 2003, to 72 per cent in winter 2003-04.

Women are nearly twice as likely to be working after the normal retirement age than men.

A total of 87,000 males aged 70 or more are in employment in the UK this year, compared to 104,000 in 2003. However, there are 5,000 more females of the same age range in employment in 2004 as there were in 2003.

Source: National Statistics, 2004

Part-timers are on the increase

A higher proportion of men in the 50-64 age group now work part-time than 10 years ago. A total of 5 per cent worked part-time in winter 2003-04 compared with 3 per cent in 1993-94.

For women in their 50s, 32 per cent worked full-time in winter 2003-04 and 28 per cent worked part-time.

Source: National Statistics, 2004

Changing priorities

For older workers, benefits, feeling safe in the workplace and job security are the top factors determining job

For employees working beyond the traditional working age, work-life balance becomes more important.

As a result of the ageing population, the number of employees with elder-care responsibilities is expected to grow. This will apply to both male and female employees.

Men are less likely to discuss their elder-care responsibilities with colleagues and supervisors than women, meaning they may be less likely to get support.

Issues regarding the care of the elderly may eclipse childcare issues for many employees in the future.

Source: SHRM 2004-2005 Workplace Forecast: A Strategic Outlook

Around 62 per cent of employers agree that companies need to provide older workers with flexible working to incentivise them to retire later.

Source: Young Guns, Mature Minds, Working Nation study, Opinion Leader Research for Vodafone UK, 2004

Working age population is decreasing

The working age population in the UK is set to fall by 12 per cent by 2050. This compares to a rise in the US by 28 per cent and in Canada by 14 per cent.

Italy is predicted to see the steepest decline, with an expected fall of 42 per cent over the same time frame.

Source: Demography is Destiny, Concours Group and Age Wave, 2003.

Age discrimination is alive and well

A total of 58 per cent of employers agreed age was a factor when considering candidates.

Source: Survey of 7,000 employers across Europe, online recruitment, 2003

One in five people have been discouraged from applying for a job due to age restrictions in the job advert.

Source: Age, Pensions & Retirement, CIPD, 2003

A total of 71 per cent of respondents had experienced discrimination while looking for work, of which 18 per cent cited being too old or ageism as the main form of discrimination.

Source: Equality at Work, TMP/Guardian, October 2003

Older workers are valuable workers

Almost 70 per cent of employers believe companies will fail if they don’t have a workforce drawn from all ages.

Three-quarters of bosses acknowledge they need to do more to help young and old to work together.

Two-thirds of 16-25-year-olds believe they are more innovative than older people. But two-thirds of employers disagree.

A total of 66 per cent of employers believe customers don’t like to deal with young, inexperienced workers.

Comments are closed.