UK government launches drive to get a million older people employed by 2022

07 Feb 2017


The UK government's Business Champion for older people, has launched a drive to get a million more 50 to 69-year-olds into jobs by 2022.

The campaign aims to encourage employers to keep, train and recruit more older people, through practical measures including offering flexible working hours, supporting staff with caring responsibilities or health problems, and countering age bias.

According to business champion Andy Briggs, employing more older people would help close the skills gap in the UK. It has been estimated that 14.5 million more jobs would be created by 2022, but only 7 million younger workers would join the workforce, leaving 7.5 million empty posts.

The move is aimed at increasing the number of older people in the UK workforce by 12 per cent to 10 million, according to Briggs, who is CEO of insurer Aviva UK Life.

"One million more older people in work by 2022 is an ambitious yet necessary target. There are 15 million people of this age group in the labour market, yet only nine million are in work. We want to get this to 10 million by 2022," he said.

"This target is achievable if employers commit to taking an honest and sustained approach to understanding age bias in their organisations.

Older people can be written off by their employers, but we are asking employers to consider carefully the overwhelming benefits of having a diverse and representative workforce, and then to act on it.

The UK employment rate at age 50 was 83 per cent, dropping to 64 per cent at age 60.

Briggs said, "We live in an ageing society so it is critical that people are able to work for as long as they need and want to.

"Many people aged over 50 want to continue to develop their careers, learn new skills, try new things and also share their broad knowledge and experience.

"This is good for everyone, and particularly for employers and their businesses who will benefit from drawing on the talent, creativity and experience of all their employees, regardless of age."

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