[Re: UK unemployment falls to 50 year-low amid jobs market exodus, October 11]
Economic inactivity is a growing threat to our economy. As the Centre for Ageing Better noted, Covid-19 heralded an “unprecedented number of people aged 50-64…mov(ing) out of work”, electing to live on their savings instead. If we want to solve this inactivity, relax the pressure on our labour market, and therefore ease inflationary pressures, we should consider ways to make staying in work attractive for older staff.
Historically, we have not done enough in this area. Three out of four over-50s are not offered promotions, as their career ambitions are treated as having less importance.
Ageist hiring practises, with a preference for “young blood” and skills over experience, have also discouraged this older cohort from seeking work.
Employers need to appreciate the fact that many older employees want to continue working and empower them to do so. Designing career progression into roles is one way to achieve this. At the recruitment stage, equal weighting should be given to skills and experience so older candidates who may need training are not unfairly discounted. There must also be actions taken to affect cultural change that stamps out ageism, such as including age in workplace diversity initiatives and age-diverse projects.
We have an ageing population and workforce – let’s embrace this fact to combat inactivity and help Britain to grow.