People are living longer, and the proportion of older workers is increasing. This means that employers will need to improve how they attract, manage and develop people as they age.

This report will help employers better understand older workers, who we generally define as those aged 50+. By knowing who they are, their experiences, and what preferences they hold, as well as the important differences and considerations that emerge as people get older, we can design better jobs to support more fulfilling working lives.

While these findings are based on UK data, the broader trends and implications should be of interest wherever you are based. 

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Understanding older workers

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The report makes a series of recommendations based on the key issues that employers and policy-makers should understand when considering how to recruit and retain older workers. These recommendations include:

Enhancing flexible working offering

By increasing the availability and range of flexibility employers will be able to attract and retain workers as they get older. Making the right to request flexible working a day one right, together with other tweaks to the legislation, would help boost the provision and uptake of flexible working. This is something the CIPD has been calling for via our Flex From 1st campaign.

Early and ongoing support for health and wellbeing

More than half of workers have a long-term health condition by the time they reach 60. This highlights the importance of supporting the health of workers throughout their working lives, to maximise their chances of them enjoying a healthy and active life as they get older. The CIPD recommends the introduction of a national implementation of a preventative and targeted occupational health service to support organisations and ensure workers get early access to support.

Improving skills and training

Employers, and particularly managers, should guard against assumptions that older workers are less likely to be interested in training or career progression. The CIPD is calling for the introduction of enhanced and buildable individual learning accounts (ILAs). These would be designed around the principles outlined in the CIPD’s Skills to Grow report and should primarily be targeted at adult upskilling.

Employers can also read our report Understanding older workers in Scotland which focuses specifically on older workers in Scotland, where, by 2045, the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to grow by nearly 30%.

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