One of the biggest trends to emerge so far this decade is the growth in the number of over 65s remaining in the workforce.
Recent data from the ONS predicts that by 2030 over half of the UK’s workforce growth will come from people aged 65 or over. This is expected to increase to two thirds by 2060.
The increase has come as no surprise for the UK employment market, with the website Rest Less, reporting a 188% increase over the last 20 years in the number of over 65s employed within the UK.
Working for more than financial gain
For some people, age is just a number and many people working beyond the age of 65 do so for more than the financial gain. Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less says, “People’s reasons for continuing to work post-state pension age vary wildly, from those who are choosing to top up their pension pots while they still can, to those who want to keep working for the love of the job, or the health and wellbeing benefits.”
In the home care sector, where over 25% of the workforce is aged 55 of over, June Shepherd became Home Instead Senior Care’s oldest CAREGiver at the age of 82. Shepherd commented, “I’ve no plans of stopping any time soon. You’re never too old to learn something new!”
And in Maidstone, Britain’s oldest cleaner recently celebrated her 96th birthday. Marjorie Rose said: “When I’m at home, I just get lonely. I still feel fit and healthy so I will keep working.”
As Marjorie points out, staying at work when we’re older has many benefits, as Patrick Thomson of the Centre for Ageing Better comments, “Working in a good quality job keeps us active, social and more financially secure.”
In fact, Home Instead recently ran an “UnRetire Yourself” campaign, after finding that over a quarter of retirees felt they gave up their careers too soon – citing time with their colleagues, a monthly salary and an active mind as the things they missed most from their time at work.
ITV News recently investigated the increase and what employers can do to become more age-friendly, from initial recruitment to the retention of older workers. The report found that additional training, specifically around new skills covering technology were the biggest desires from older people starting new roles.
That’s something we think about when we’re developing our home care software, as we know it will be used by a high proportion of older workers. Emma Morris of Croeso Care, currently using IQ:timecard to manage its care support workers has said: “The app is so user-friendly, and even the managers in their late 60s find it easy to use!”
The options to work flexibly to cover care, health and family were amongst the other employment benefits those interviewed saw as a priority when looking for new roles.
Thomson said: “As recent figures show, by the age of 56 more than one in five of us can expect to be caring for a loved one. So better rights are needed for carers at work, including measures such as flexible working and paid carer’s leave.”
Future retirement age, 90+?
Although this is exciting news for the UK economy, it does raise questions about what the the future will hold for retirement. With a continual rise in the state pension age, should we expect reports in 2030 of Britain’s oldest cleaner celebrating her 100th birthday?
Thomson states: “There is a lot that we can’t predict about what the next decade might bring. However, the one thing we know for sure is that workers will be older on average and our workplaces will need to adapt. If they do, we will all reap the rewards.”
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