Research: Age still a sticking-point for employers

Many employers are nervous of discussing age issues with workers as they approach retirement, according to research by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and the Policy Studies Institute.

However, the An Ageing Workforce – The Employer’s Perspective study showed that many businesses are open to making adjustments to the workplace to help retain staff if the issue is raised on an informal basis.

It found that many employers are happy to let people carry on working after the normal retirement age of 65, and many would also be happy to see compulsory retirement abolished, but that they need support to get the best out of more mature workers.

Helen Barnes, principal research fellow at the IES and one of the report’s authors, said: “The number of older workers is rapidly increasing, so it’s essential that both employers and government tackle this issue. We have found that many organisations struggle to raise the issue of age in the workplace, as they are wary of causing offence or risking discrimination.†

“Rather than adopt hard and fast policies on age, almost all employers seem willing to consider modifications to the workplace to retain older workers on a case by case basis; but too often employees are also reluctant to raise the issue.”

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