New parliamentary report calls for new national employer scheme to champion older workers
More focus should be given helping the over 50s find and stay in work, says Work and Pensions Select Committee report.
Our Senior Research and Policy Manager for Work, Luke Price, gave evidence to the committee and is quoted extensively in the report.
The new Work and Pensions Select Committee report is recommending a national employer scheme to champion older workers and encourage employers to hire staff over the age of 50.
The new parliamentary report says such a scheme should push to improve workplaces for older employees by providing accreditation to employers who demonstrate they are supportive of older workers, with participating employers required to publish staff data on their over 50s employment.
The scheme being advocated is similar to Ageing Better’s Age-friendly Employer Pledge - a free nationwide programme which has seen more than 180 organisations and businesses sign-up since it launched in November last year.
The committee also calls for ageism in the workplace to be confronted and for the government to do more to ensure greater access to flexible working.
Luke Price, Senior Research and Policy Manager for Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, told the committee of MPs back in January how a new national programme of employment support is needed to tackle the economic inactivity crisis among older workers.
Luke also told the committee that unfounded ageist narratives questioning older workers’ productivity and reliability was damaging to older people’s motivation to look for work and their own self-perception.
He told MPs that many older workers who felt unsupported by their employers through the pandemic and left the labour market subsequently found it much more difficult than younger age groups to then re-engage.
The committee report also supports one of Ageing Better’s recommendations calling on the government to widen the eligibility of the Restart scheme, designed to help people who had fallen into unemployment as a result of the pandemic. The changes proposed would allow people who are economically inactive, who are not claiming benefits but who do meet the programme’s other criteria, to access support through the scheme.
Luke Price, Senior Research and Policy Manager for Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“We welcome the select committee’s recommendations. Older workers’ participation in the labour market has been disproportionately impacted since the pandemic. Current approaches are not making enough progress and it is clear we need more tailored employment support to allow older workers to fulfil their potential.
“There is abundant evidence showing that ageism in the workplace and a lack of flexible work opportunities are major barriers to older workers fully participating in the labour market. Breaking down these barriers would allow everyone to feel the full benefit of a multigenerational workforce.
“We particularly welcome the report’s recommendations for a scheme that champions older workers. Our Age-friendly Employer Pledge was launched late last year and now has now more than 180 organisations that have committed to improving work for people in their 50s and 60s.
“Recent research has shown the UK lies significantly behind other countries in harnessing the potential of older workers. New data has also shown that many older people forced out of work by the pandemic are struggling financially. Now is the time for more action on older workers; for the benefit of individuals, employers and the wider economy.”