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Businesses Urged to Employ More Older Workers
July 3, 2019
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Council of advisers set up to help UK seize economic opportunities of ageing society, and Business Champion for the Ageing Society Grand Challenge announced.

A new council of specialists from across society, the UK Longevity Council, will advise how best to use innovations in technology, products and services to improve the lives of our ageing population.

With the number of people aged over 65 set to nearly double to more than 20 million in under 50 years, the government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge – a key part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy – is designed to harness the power of innovation to meet the changing needs of an older society.

It also aims to ensure that people across the UK enjoy an extra 5 years of healthy and independent living by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and the poorest.

The UK Longevity Council is a vital part of this. It will bring together business leaders, health experts and others from society to advise government on the steps we can take to help everyone lead healthier lives, while exploring how the UK can position itself to lead the world in the growing market for age-related products and services.

The council will act as a forum for interactions and discussions between policy makers, industry, researchers and the public in the area of ageing, and will advise on:

  • how we can think differently about work, finances, housing, communities and health, and explore new technologies, products and services that will benefit and enrich our older population
  • what the government’s high-level priorities should be in relation to demographic change
  • supporting both local and international work to ensure the UK is a global leader and UK businesses can capitalise on global opportunities

Andy Briggs, business leader and insurance industry expert, has been appointed as the government’s new Business Champion for the Ageing Society Grand Challenge and will co-chair the UK Longevity Council with Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.

To support the Grand Challenge, the government will shortly open the competitions for the £98 million Healthy Ageing Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to develop attractive products and services that help people of all ages to live better and more independent lives as they grow older.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

Keeping people healthy and independent is absolutely central to our vision for our healthcare system. Living longer should be celebrated but we need to think seriously about how we can adapt society more widely to meet older people’s needs. We must use our industry’s incredible abilities in technology, design and innovation in new, thoughtful ways to support everyone to age well.

Business has a vital role to play in providing inclusive products and services that are attractive to our older population and can enable everyone to stay living at home for longer and keep active. I look forward to working with Andy Briggs and the rest of the Longevity Council to help the UK lead the way in thinking creatively and originally about ageing.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

More than 10 million people in the UK today can expect to see their 100th birthday, compared to 15,000 current centenarians.

As more people live longer, we must ensure people can live independently, with dignity and a good quality of life for longer by harnessing the best technological innovation and advances to help.

Having a dedicated Business Champion in Andy Briggs, working with the new Longevity Council, will ensure that UK companies remain at the forefront of these developments. This is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of these new and emerging industries.

Andy Briggs, Ageing Society Business Champion, said:

Britain has an ageing society, along with many other developed countries, and this provides challenges as well as opportunities.

I encourage all businesses to embrace this excellent opportunity, both by developing world-leading products and services, and by employing more older workers.

Employers Must Provide Flexibility to Support Ageing Workforce
November 20, 2018
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The following article by Rachel Muller-Heyndyk, was published in HR Magazine

The government has called on employers to make accommodations for older employees, with research revealing support for more flexible and part-time role

The research, commissioned from Saga Populus, found that when asked what measures employers should implement to make workplaces more welcoming, respondents most commonly cited offering part-time roles (73%). Additionally more than three in five (63%) suggested that employers need to get better at offering training and retraining schemes to help older workers with upskilling and new technology.

More than three-fifths (65%) felt that an ageing and diverse society is a positive thing that should be celebrated.

However, they were mindful of some of the challenges this also presents. For example, nearly nine in 10 (87%) over-50s were aware that health and social care services need to be redesigned to support an ageing population. They believed the cost of this must be borne across all generations, with three-quarters (75%) stating the need for people of all ages to take increased responsibility for planning and preparing financially for living longer.

The research was commissioned as part of the government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge, which is calling for businesses to promote the benefits of hiring older workers and to recognise that flexible working arrangements are key. As part of the strategy, the government is investing £300 million to develop technologies to support the ageing workforce.

Patrick Thomson, senior programme manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said that flexible working could allow older workers time for care responsibilities and personal health needs. Read more

ViewPoint Humana: Let’s Retire the Word ‘Retirement’
October 8, 2018
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There is still a negative bias in how we view people over the age of 65. That needs to change because there is nothing but disruption on the horizon when it comes to ageing. Originally Published by Humana.

Work has changed in America, and our notion of work is evolving along with society.

Thanks to advances in science, from antibiotics to vaccinations, life expectancy in the U.S. has increased. In 1900 it was 46 years for men and 48 for women; it’s now 77 years for men and 81 for women.

Today’s work environment is less dangerous and taxing, thanks to a century of new safety laws, machines and computers that have transformed offices and factories. The demands on our lives and our bodies are not what they once were.

People also have more opportunities due to advances in transportation, with breakthrough ideas like ride-hailing apps and rapid light rail. Such options within cities are enabling many, particularly seniors, to get out of their homes more often. Read more

Over-50s Plan to Work Longer
August 17, 2018
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Older workers feel unsupported by their employers, despite estimates that a third of the UK workforce will be aged over 50 by 2020

Almost two-thirds (63%) of workers aged over 50 in the UK are planning to retire later than they thought they would 10 years ago, according to research from Aviva.

Many of them are extending their working lives because of the rising cost of living (40%) and insufficient pension savings (38%

Despite these plans to carry on working longer, 44% feel unsupported by their employers when it comes to their career ambitions and objectives, compared to just 25% of 25- to 34-year-olds who feel this way.

Progress has also been slow in helping older employees adapt to a longer working life. Factors, such as the ability to work flexitime, have only increased slightly from 12% in 2012 to 14% in 2018. Meanwhile access to other forms of workplace support – including guidance on retirement finances – has remained static.

The research highlighted the benefits of supporting an ageing workforce. For older workers who do have access to support, three-quarters (75%) agree it was useful, with a fifth (21%) stating workplace support played an important role in their later-life planning.

When asked what form of support they would find useful from their employer, 14% said the ability to reduce working hours or flexitime; 9% said written literature on the financial issues surrounding retirement; 11% said free, independent financial advice; and 6% said a dedicated staff member to talk to about the issues. Read more

ViewPoint: Finished At 50!
July 24, 2018
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The following ViewPoint is by Stephen Lambert a Newcastle City Councillor representing the Kenton Ward, he is a former senior lecturer at Bishop Auckland College and now sits as a community governor with Newcastle City Learn  – the adult education service. He is a writer with 30 years teaching and management experience in further, adult and higher education.

‘FINISHED AT 50’: Do employers and the FE sector do enough to give older workers a chance?

ALTHOUGH UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen again across the country with more people in full-time and part-time paid work, one group that has been ignored is the over-50s – a growing demographic in Britain. True, Stephen Lambert is a Newcastle City Councillor and a community governor for Newcastle City Learn – the adult education service.most men and women in this age cohort are in paid jobs with a significant minority of middle-class professionals having opted for a 4-day week. Some, mostly middle-class professionals, dubbed WOOPIES (Well off old age pensioners) have taken early retirement in their mid-fifties with good work-based pensions and mortgages paid off. Yet this option is vanishing as the retirement age rises to 66.

The stark reality is that over a million people aged 50 to 64 remain economically inactive and want a job. It’s estimated by Age UK that 1.5m have been in this position in the last eight years: more than 1m would work if someone offered them a job. Many are women in their sixties who can no longer access their state pension at 60.

In Newcastle Upon Tyne about 1,000 50 to 64-year olds claim the unemployment benefit, job-seekers allowance. But this is an under-estimate. Some don’t claim because of their partners’ earnings. Others are put off by the bureaucratic claiming procedures. Others receive DLA or PIP – the ‘’hidden unemployed’’. Worklessness in this ‘’forgotten group’’ has been brought on by a range of factors such as redundancy, ill-health, burn-out or ‘’enforced retirement’’ on modest occupational pensions. As the TUC notes it’s virtually impossible for the older worker to find another job.

Age-based unemployment and early retirement is a class and gender-related thing.  Most are former working- class, blue collar workers living in the most disadvantaged towns across the North of England and Wales. They are the victims of globalisation and automation which has caused long-term unemployment leaving them consigned to the economic scrap heap. For some working-class men over 55, the only real developments have been walking the dog, football, daytime telly and drinking. Read more

Support For Employers to Promote the 50+ Workforce in the North East
July 16, 2018
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The government has launched a programme, “Retrain, regain, retain – a pilot to support employers and the older workforce.”

The Department for Work and Pensions, in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Careers Service (NCS), is offering an opportunity to engage with a range of local businesses to explore how the NCS could provide individuals with better careers and skills advice, and how this might have an impact on the retention, retraining and recruitment workers aged 50 and over.

Benefits of the pilot

Employers that participate will have free access to: Read more