Employment warning: Older workers facing an “early retirement” as DWP are urged to respond | Personal Finance | Finance


Employment figures were released today and analysis of the data shows changing realities could force many early retirements unless urgent action is taken. The Labour Market Statistics showed the economic impact of coronavirus is not being shared evenly.

“The Government must invest more to ensure that ill health and caring responsibilities don’t make it even more difficult for older people to re-enter the workforce.

“Without further urgent support from the Government, a huge number of people aged over 50 will find early retirement forced on them.”

These figures will likely worry many people approaching retirement, with additional research from “No Desire to Retire” showing older workers are worried about their employment prospects in the face of a continuing pandemic.

Between January 11 – 15, the organisation conducted a survey of just under one thousand people aged 45 and over.

On this, the respondents urged Government bodies (with the DWP, BEIS or the Business Secretary being flagged) – to create communications campaigns promoting the “[commercial] benefits of older workers and advantages of a more age-diverse workforce”.

Natasha Oppenheim, the CEO of No Desire to Retire, commented on the findings: “Our survey of older workers shows that they feel overwhelmingly pessimistic about their job prospects in the short term, with around one in three job seekers abandoning their search for a new role in the last six months. Sadly this echoes what we frequently hear from our members at present.

“This is unsurprising given the brutal economic fallout arising from coronavirus, which has disproportionately hit our oldest, as well as our youngest, workers. Over the last year there has been a rapid rise in unemployment among over 50s – up by about a third – in stark contrast to, and reversing the pre-pandemic trend, when they accounted for eighty percent of employment growth.

“But they are especially worried that their age will become an even greater competitive disadvantage when applying for roles in the medium to longer term, when the economy starts to pick up again. Our members often tell us about their experiences of ageist attitudes among both recruitment agencies and employers – for example, being told they are ‘past it’ or confronting prejudicial stereotypes at interview; in the words of one respondent: ‘most employers assume if you are over 50 you cannot use a computer, you are unhealthy and are outdated and unwilling to learn.’

“However as our survey shows, this is far from being the case. It highlights that older jobseekers are energetic and resourceful when it comes to building on their experience to meet the immediate needs of employers; indeed, many respondents said that they had used lockdown as an opportunity to cultivate new hobbies, complete ‘DIY’ training courses, or do voluntary work to expand their skills-set, improve their marketability, and so up their chances of landing a new role.”

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