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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more about Lucie Mitchell

Older workers would struggle in job beyond retirement age, study finds


Employers estimate that nearly one in three older workers would have problems performing in their current role after retirement age, according to a new study.

Over half of employers expect an increase in the number of older workers in their business over the next few years, but are concerned that 31% would not be able to continue in their current job past traditional retirement age, the research from MetLife Employee Benefits has shown.

However, 32% of respondents said their workplace had a positive attitude to older workers, with just 12% admitting they had come across negative behaviour, and just over half stating they were neutral on the issue.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, urged employers to ensure they respond positively to the demographic changes that are happening in the workforce. 

“It’s encouraging that there are mainly positive attitudes but there is still an undercurrent of concern and misguided thinking that could inhibit positive change,” he said.

“Older workers have a tremendous amount to offer and shouldn’t be seen as a problem but as a solution to many workplace challenges.”

Just 10% of employers felt that an increase in older staff would mean more absences, while only 6% believed this would mean problems with career progression and recruitment, the research found.

Last month, the government appointed Dr Ros Altmann CBE as its new ‘business champion for older workers’, as part of its attempt to support the growing number of over-50s in the UK labour market.

According to government figures, over the next decade, there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in work, but 3.7 million more people aged between 50 and state pension age.

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell