Working for enjoyment and the benefit of social interaction increases with age. Those still working in their 60s are more likely than those in their 40s and 50s to be motivated to do so because they enjoy their job and the social benefits of interacting with colleagues and others in the workplace. This is one of the reasons why half (53 percent) of those aged 60+ are not ready to retire, increasing to 61 percent for those aged 65+, according to a new analysis from Aviva. Yet more than a third (37 percent) of employees aged 45 and over believe that age discrimination is an issue where they work, with those aged 55 to 59 feeling this most strongly (41 percent).
One in five (19 percent) feel younger colleagues are favoured over older generations, while 19 percent believe their age has become a barrier to career progression and development. However, over half (53 percent) of employees aged 60 and over are not ready to retire, increasing to 61 percent for people still working past the age of 65.
Commenting on the findings, Claire Turner, Director of Evidence, Centre for Ageing Better said: “It’s really positive that many people in their 50s and 60s want to carry on working. Good quality work can provide a sense of meaning and purpose and enable people to save more for later life.
“Older workers can bring a wealth of skills and experience that are incredibly valuable. With skills and labour shortages predicted in future, employers will need to recruit, retain and support those older workers if they want to remain competitive.”
According to the Aviva research, workers in mid-life have typically amassed significant skills, experience and knowledge, creating ‘muscle memory’ that can be invaluable to their employer. However, the research – which examined employee and employer attitudes towards ageing in the workplace – highlights a potential ‘brain drain’ unless businesses do more to support this growing demographic.
While the majority (73 percent) of workers in their 50s and 60s feel they share invaluable skills, experience and knowledge with colleagues2, Aviva’s findings reveal that 16 percent of mid-life employees feel this is not valued by their employer.
Many employers share employees’ concerns about age discrimination. Almost a fifth (19 percent) of employers said it was a main concern of theirs while 20 percent said they were concerned about how they will respond to the challenge of an ageing workforce.
“Age should not be a barrier to opportunity – but our findings suggest employees are worried about age discrimination.”
Companies missing out on the talent and potential of an ageing workforce
Aviva’s findings highlight the need for companies to put the right support in place to ensure employees in mid-life feel valued at work. There are currently a record 10 million workers over the age of 50 and in the next decade, this population is forecast to grow to represent more than a third of all workers in the UK3.
Without the right support in place, companies are potentially missing out on the talent of this important age group; nearly nine in 10 people are in work at the age of 50, yet this falls to less than one in two for employees in their mid-60s4.
Lindsey Rix, Managing Director of Savings and Retirement, Aviva, commented: “Age should not be a barrier to opportunity – but our findings suggest employees are worried about age discrimination. We want to challenge this concern.
“Evolving social and workplace trends mean we must all be prepared for a more fluid working life. The mid-life population offers invaluable skills and experience that companies are potentially missing out on. Companies needs to take action – not doing so risks a punishing labour shortage in the years to come and a huge waste of talent and potential.”
Table 1: Attitudes to work in mid-life among those who are still in work
|Feel they are not ready to retire||45 percent||42 percent||43 percent||49 percent||61 percent|
|Motivated to continue working because they enjoy their job||36 percent||34 percent||35 percent||35 percent||57 percent|
|Motivated to continue working for social interaction||21 percent||19 percent||19 percent||24 percent||31 percent|
|Feel there is age discrimination against older workers in their organisation||37 percent||38 percent||41 percent||37 percent||25 percent|
Source: Aviva, 2019
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Source: Work Place Insight
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