Almost a quarter the UK will be over the age of 60 by the year 2024 and with reports suggesting that around ten million over-50s were working last year, two recent reports highlight some of the difficulties currently facing an ageing workplace.

The report published by the Centre for Ageing Better suggests that older employees are feeling discriminated against because of their age. The survey interviewed over 1,100 people aged over 50:

  • 14% of employees believe that they have been unsuccessful in applying for a job because of their age.
  • One in five have considered concealing their age in applications.
  • 32% believe they have been offered fewer opportunities for training and progression compared to younger employees.
  • One in five feels that others see them as less capable because of their age.
  • While 40% think their workplace has a policy related to preventing age discrimination, nearly half of these people (47%) say it has made no difference.

The report states that unless practices change employers risk losing their most experienced people and facing labour and skills shortages.

How can employers be ready for an ageing workplace?

  • Be open to flexible working: offer more flexibility, manage it well and help people know their options.
  • Hire age-positively: actively target candidates of all ages, and minimise age bias when recruiting.
  • Encourage career development at all ages: provide opportunities for people to develop their careers and plan for the future at mid-life and beyond.
  • Ensure everyone has the health support they need: enable early and open conversations and sustained access to support for workers with health conditions.

These conclusions echo July’s report from the Women and Equalities Committee. It claimed that more than a million people aged over 50 are not having their talents realised in both recruitment and retention, and that both the government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are failing to enforce the law on age discrimination.