Upskill - Older Workers

A look at the last census in Jersey would tell you that there were 64,353 people of working age in 2011 – but in actual fact you can add another ten percent to that figure, which included men aged up to 64 and women aged up to 59. There were nearly 16,000 people aged 55 to 69 who weren’t seen as economically active and yet with an ageing population and rising cost of living, many of them will now be expected to work longer (to 67 in Jersey by 2031 and 70 in Guernsey). Add to that Guernsey’s shrinking population and it’s essential that older workers, who want to work, are being encouraged to do so. Yet there is plenty of evidence to show that - despite the rhetoric and the attempts of many over 50s – the reality is they aren’t being encouraged in the workplace. Ageism still exists and it means employers are missing out on a valuable section of the workforce who can go towards plugging our skills gap.

A recent report by Aviva in the UK found that a significant number of over-50s feel unsupported in the workplace. The report found that 63% of the over 50s are planning to retire later than they thought they would have ten years ago, but 44% feel unsupported by their employer. Interestingly, the study also revealed that those aged 50+ are more confident about their ability to keep up at work and their relevant skillset than their younger counterparts.

This research is not a lone voice – there have been lots of reports in the UK and USA, which back up these findings. The Women and Equalities Committee, an influential UK government committee, recently published a report concluding that the skills of over a million over 50s in the UK who want to work are being wasted because of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices. Shockingly, nearly a quarter of UK firms admitted they were unprepared for the growing number of older workers and yet the over 50s already make up nearly a third of the UK workforce.

You can read the full feature in the October 2018 issue of Business Brief