News Start preparing workers earlier for ageing, says charity

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Report advocates more support for staff in their 40s and 50s, with experts describing it as a ‘win, win’ for employers and employees.

Employers need to provide mid-life employees – between the ages of 40 and 50 – more support to help them stay in work into their 60s or risk losing out on skills and talent, a charity has said.

In a report, the Centre for Ageing Better has warned that despite over-50s making up a third of the UK workforce, older people were leaving the workplace faster than younger people were entering, and employers needed to act earlier to help workers prepare for later life.

The charity said employers needed to provide mid-life workers with better financial advice – including saving for retirement and making a will – and promote better physical and emotional wellbeing to help employees take steps to maintain good health and manage any health conditions that could arise.

It also supported the idea of a ‘mid-life MOT’, a proposal that has gained some support from the government, which recently launched a mid-life MOT website.

The report was welcomed by Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, who said the use of the strategies were a ‘win, win’ for employers and employees. “Employers have the opportunity to improve retention of older staff members by making the most of their skills and experience and deploying them effectively within their businesses,” she said.

“Such strategies allow employers to build and benefit from age-diverse workforces that benefit them and their employees alike.”

Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said it was vital that employers thought seriously about how to effectively manage an age-diverse workforce, beyond extending working life. Miller agreed that a mid-life MOT could be helpful to understand individual needs, but felt employers should be pushing these agendas regardless of age.

“It’s also important for employers not to jump to conclusions or stereotypes about the requirements or capabilities of different age groups, or make assumptions about someone’s intentions,” she added.

“Skills and training needs should be a regular conversation throughout someone’s working life, regardless of age, to enable career development and ensure people continue to feel motivated and challenged at work.”

The report, which focuses on four areas of mid-life support interventions – work, physical health, wealth and psychological wellbeing – was based on a study by the Centre for Ageing Better and the UK branch of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation that found championing psychosocial skills such as mindfulness could provide major benefits to employees’ wellbeing.

Dr Aideen Young, evidence manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Employers that prioritise supporting workers to plan and prepare in mid-life are the ones that will better retain skilled workers and be more resilient to future skills shocks.”

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