Over-50s want to carry on working - Palmers Solicitors

Over-50s want to carry on working

New government research has revealed the changing way that workers view retirement.

A YouGov survey of more than 2,000 retired and non-retired people aged over 50, carried out as part of Dr Ros Altmann’s work as the Department for Work and Pensions’ Business Champion for Older Workers, has found that:

  • 48 per cent of those under 65 and still working would like remain in work between the ages of 65 and 70;
  • 39 per cent of those still working said working part-time or flexible hours before stopping work completely would be the best way to retire;
  • 36 per cent of retirees said they would advise others to consider switching to flexible or part-time work before retiring; and
  • 33 per cent still working over the age of 70 said they did so because they enjoyed it.

Speaking as the research was released on 13 January, Pensions Minister Steve Webb said almost 250,000 more people aged 50 to 64 had joined the labour market over the last year and more than a million people aged 65 and over were in work.

He added: “The results show there is no single view of retirement any more. Employers need to keep up with changes to society and we have to ensure over 50s have the skills in place to continue developing their careers throughout their working lives.”

Dr Altmann said: “It is clear that many older people no longer see retirement as turning their back on work. They want to work longer, but shift the pace while still making the most of their skills. More employers are now getting the message that older workers can have a valuable role in business.”

The research also revealed that some over-50s felt they had suffered because of their age. The survey found:

  • 23 per cent felt they were viewed less favourably than younger workers although 51 per cent thought their employer viewed them as favourably as younger ones;
  • 15 per cent of those still working said they had experienced age-based discrimination in the workplace; and
  • among those currently working, but who had been unemployed at some point since the age of 50, 53 per cent said they felt employers were not interested in hiring them because of their age.

From April, the government will introduce older workers’ champions into Jobcentres across the UK to help tackle age discrimination. A new guidance toolkit for employers will also be launched to help them support older staff in the workplace.

Lara Murray, associate solicitor in Palmers’ Employment Law team, said: “Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, meaning that employers need to ensure they have policies designed to prevent age-related discrimination in areas including training or discipline and grievance issues.

“Failure to prevent age discrimination could expose an employer to an employment tribunal claim and should such a claim be made, it would be wise to seek legal advice.

“Palmers’ HR package offers regularly updated sample policies for matters such as discrimination while our employment law specialists can provide advice and representation to businesses and individuals on all discrimination-related issues.”