Evidence given to the House of Lords Public Service and Demographic Change Select Committee by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), focused on why employers should be looking to entice older people to stay in work for as long as possible.

Figures from the CIPD report in 2010, ‘Employee Outlook: Focus on the Aging Workforce’ suggested that 56% of workers over the age of 55 plan to work beyond the state retirement age, and because of this the CIPD say it is in employers interests to enable older people to stay in work for as long as possible.

Discussing the issue of older workers and employment following the House of Lords evidence session, Dianah Worman, Diversity Adviser at CIPD, said:

“CIPD research shows that older workers are increasingly looking to extend their working lives and by 2020 it is predicted that 36% of the working population will be aged over 50. As a result those businesses that are proactive in addressing the challenges of an ageing workforce will gain a significant competitive edge, both in terms of recruiting and retaining talent, but also through supporting the well-being and engagement of employees of all ages.”

She continued:

“The business case for older workers is strong and research shows their impact and experience within the organisation enables better customer service, enhanced knowledge retention and can help to address talent and skills shortages.

“However, despite this, our research found that more than three quarters (76%) of older workers reported that their employers had not made any reasonable adjustments to help them carry on working.

“Even though over half (52%) of older workers reported that the impact of aging has only had a very small impact on their ability to do their job, some small changes to their workload, working hours or even working environment might enable them to remain longer in the workplace and possibly even increase their productivity. Many employers are currently missing a trick and are losing key talent from their organisations by failing to offer flexibility in the workplace.”

Worman concluded:

“Although some employers have begun to manage the issues associated with an ageing workforce, for those who have yet to make headway the main barrier appears to be a lack of expertise and awareness around these changing demographics. The Government has a role to play in increasing awareness about these issues and sign-posting employers to information and best practice on how to manage older workers successfully.”