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A major boost to the economy by giving better support for older workers

In a recently published report, supporting older workers could mean huge economic potential. Keeping and supporting them in good-quality employment would mean a huge boost to the economy.

 An independent charity foundation, The Centre for Ageing Better has stated that older people who become unemployed tend to stay unemployed for far longer than younger people. This suggests that there has been too much focus and time spent on employment opportunities for younger people who become unemployed.

The foundation further claimed that as the number of working older people had increased, so had the employment rates for younger people risen.

A quarter of people between 50 and state pension age are now out of work, and even though the overall number of workers over the age of 50 had increased, there is a continuing decline in older people looking for work.

A point that the centre made was that by halving the employment gap between people aged 50 and over, and people in their 40’s would mean an increase in National Insurance payments of 1%, or about £3 billion. It would also increase GDP by up to £18 billion.

The charity stated that this would reduce the number of benefits which were collected by people over 50, and this would give them time to build up their retirement savings.

The people who were most likely to need to work beyond pension age were those in the low and middle earnings bracket. This was mostly because of financial problems, as 1.8 million people in this bracket struggle to save for retirement.

There are several courses of action which could be taken by both the government and employees, to support a better quality of work for older people. These include flexible working hours and workplace conditions, which take into account caring responsibilities and health issues.

Employers should also offer more opportunity for progression and development at work. The foundation pointed out that only two other countries, namely Turkey and Slovenia have a lower opportunity for training older people than the UK.

The author of the report, and senior programme manager at the charity, Patrick Thompson, said that older employees are an integral part on the UK economy, and being employed not only reduces the welfare bill but encourages savings and financial independence in retirement.

Mr Thompson went on to say that older workers are often faced with negative misconceptions, and they needed more support in staying in employment.

Policy solutions are needed to enable this increasingly important sector of the workforce. It is important, says Mr Thompson that action should be taken now, so that Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) are not facing the same challenges as they get older.


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