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Employers feel positive about hiring older workers

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Employers feel positive about hiring older workers

UK businesses are feeling more positive about hiring older workers.

This is according to professional services firm Towers Watson, which has released details of a new report. Results show that over three-quarters of employers expect the number of employees over the age of 60 to rise between now and 2020, while a further 29 per cent anticipate it will increase significantly.

Attitudes towards older workers appear to have softened as well, with only 16 per cent of respondents claiming they are less motivated than younger employees, while 24 per cent believe they take more time off sick. Meanwhile only 13 per cent responded that hiring staff over the age of 60 would harm productivity.

Based on the 2012-based projections published by the Office for National Statistics, the UK's population aged 60-plus is expected to increase by 13 per cent over the next six years. However, most of this growth is likely to be at ages where people are less likely to be in work. This is due to the fact the so-called baby boomers are already in their mid-60s.

The trend of more older people either re-entering or staying in the workforce is set to continue not just as a result of the growing population. Poor savings and a higher life expectancy will mean that employees will need to stay in work for longer.

However, hiring older workers is not without its concerns. The report showed that 47 per cent believed this would lead to higher benefits costs. 

John Ball, UK head of pensions at Towers Watson, commented: "An ageing workforce creates significant challenges for employers, especially around how to control the cost of benefit provision for this group of workers. Employers need to recognise what they offer need to be adapted to deliver to the needs of the whole workforce, regardless of age."

The survey was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and questioned 480 company executives in 30 European countries. It was carried out between October and November 2013.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 18th February 2014

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