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Older workforce

Wider choice for individuals about the life course, not least by removing both artificial incentives that now favour sudden and early retirement and disincentives to choice built into existing programmes Employers along with Trade Unions make it hard for themselves to employ older workers. For example, financial schemes which reward long service make it disproportionately costly to keep on older workers and pension schemes which are based on defined benefits make it expensive to employ older workers (Economist, 1999). It would then make sense to rewards workers on performance and productivity.

Managers of organisations could look at creating alternate career paths for their older staff if there is a need to bring in younger employees. IBM Belgium set up a company called SkillTeam that re-employs any of their early-retired employees who want to carry on working for a longer period. An employee who joins the SkillTeam at the age of 55 for example on a five year contract would work for 58% of their time over the period, for 88% of their previous IBM salary. This allowed IBM to retain the intellectual capital that they would have otherwise lost if they had retired altogether (Economist, 1999).

Research on recruitment by Totaljobs. com

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found that out of 8,000 jobseekers interviewed, 40% claimed they felt they had been rejected from being successful in their interview because of their age (Shawcross, 2004). However, not all employers of private organisations are overlooking the older workers. B & Q, Asda and Tesco are providing schemes to encourage people over 50 years old to apply for jobs. One in six of Teso’s staff and one in five of B & Q staff are over 50 years old. Asda has launched the ‘Goldies’ scheme to encourage people aged over 50 years to apply to their stores.

It is believed by these stores that older workers and younger staff work well together and that the combination works well at their stores (Arp. org. uk, 2003). Recruiting young staff is vital for private organisations both now and in the future, however, the effective retention, motivation and development of older workers should be of equal importance. It is estimated that by 2010 employees over 45 years old will make up 40% of the workforce in the United Kingdom’s economy (lg-employers. gov. uk, 2004).

The baby – boomers will be at the peak of their prime earning years with few children and fewer young people to employ. The fiscal challenge ahead of us is enormous and something must be done to avoid the adverse consequences. It has been suggested that this demographic occurrence will force employers to wake up to the fact that they will have to start employing older workers (Ashbridge, 2003). When there are no more young people in the workforce available to employ, employers should start to seek the unconventional or alternative forms of employment like older people.

There are private organisations as well as various other countries which are pathing the way to employment of older workers, for example, Asda, B & Q and Tesco, however, the fact remains hat the attitudes and beliefs that older people are not up to completing most jobs satisfactorily and effectively is still prevalent within the British society. This in tow with legislation which restricts early retires from working part-time whilst drawing a partial pension only makes it harder for employers to retain staff as sometimes people will be better off drawing their pension early rather than to carry on working.


Arp. org. uk, (2003), Older workforce, Arp. org. uk, Online Available http://www. arp050. org. uk/asp/help/padwork_findingjob. asp [10/03/2004] Ashbridge, J. (2003), Older workers enter the new age of fairness, The Sunday Times, November 2nd 2003. Devenport, M. (2000), Demography: Stark choice over immigration: Populations are getting older in many countries, BBC News, Online Available http://www.news.bbc.co.uk

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