The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has this month published a fascinating report as part of its Future of Work research programme entitled “Ageing Confidently: Supporting an Ageing Population”. The CSJ is an influential independent think tank that studies the root causes of Britain’s social problems and addresses them by recommending practical, workable policy interventions. If your role involves driving progress towards equality and diversity in the workforce, this will be interesting reading.
The first section of the report looks at “demographic trends”. As you might expect with an ageing population, in the UK employment rates have increased for those aged 50-64 years old. The report sets out in some detail the impacts of these trends on different sectors, from public administration and defence to retail.
The demographic shift presents benefits and challenges to employers and the state generally. The report considers the effect of an ageing workforce on pensions and benefits, healthcare costs, unpaid caring, productivity levels, skills and technology.
“Without a fundamental change in employment culture and an increase in opportunities for older workers … individuals, businesses and the economy will suffer”, finds the report.
In terms of recommendations, the CSJ suggests that the Right to Request flexible working should be strengthened and should be a right for all employees from day one, rather than at 26 weeks (the Right to Request is due to be evaluated in 2019).
Further, there should be improved communication between employers and employees for older workers in relation to opportunities for workplace adjustments and training opportunities. Rather than focusing on “retirement support”, employers should consider these discussions as a tool to enable older workers to continue to work, if they so wish.
Other proposals include enhanced healthcare support, implementation of employee-tailored “Mid-Life MOTs”, the initiation of an “Age Confident” scheme and, potentially controversially, an increase in the State Pension Age to 70 by 2028 and to 75 by 2035.
The report can be accessed here.