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Understanding the Older Workforce

Understanding the Older Workforce

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Understanding the Older Workforce

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    1. Understanding the Older Workforce Professor Stephen McNair Director, Centre for Research into the Older Workforce, University of Surrey

    2. The older workforce: the questions What is the problem? Why attend to it? How different is the older workforce? What makes people retire or stay in work? What should firms be doing?

    3. What is the problem? We are living longer Life expectancy rose by 30 yrs in 20th century, 90% now live to State Pension Age compared to 66% in 1950 We are not replacing the workforce lowest ever birth rate (1.6 per woman), young people entering the workforce later, largest ever age cohort approaching retirement, ageing workforce a major constraint in 6/14 occupational sectors We are saving less lowest ever savings rate, highest ever personal debt, average pension yield halved 2000-2003 This is not sustainable

    4. Why should firms attend to this issue now? Bottom line growing skills gaps and shortages firms losing knowledge and expertise Legal compliance: law in 2006 how to manage entry, exit, promotion when age discrimination becomes illegal no regulations yet Corporate social responsibility using talents quality of post retirement life insecurity, low trust

    5. Age and performance in the workplace Overall job performance is unrelated to age up to State Pension Age Some decline in performance after 40 for those who do not receive training Three key factors : physical ability - little difference for most jobs, adaptability to change - old need training general work effectiveness - old do better (Warr 1994)

    6. How different are older workers? Older workers score on: Conscientious/reliable Job effectiveness Thinking before acting Loyalty Interpersonal skills Team working Response to direction Product knowledge Social knowledge and networks Absenteeism Accidents Labour turnover Younger workers score on: Grasping new ideas Adaptability to change Accepting new technologies Learning quickly Interest in training (Warr 1994)

    7. The new older workforce: the baby boomers grow old better qualified more ambitious more critical

    8. Choosing to stay in work: some factors Flexibility Control and respect State of the labour market Previous economic activity Qualifications Training Financial commitments Synchronised spouses Caring roles Aspirations: >50% would consider working longer

    9. The diversity of the older workforce: three clusters CROW national survey of job change 2003 5500 people, 1700 in 50-69 age range Half change jobs in a 5 year period Most increase their skills and responsibility Three groups of people Choosers Survivors Jugglers CROW 2004

    10. Choosers Highly qualified (mostly graduates) Professional/managerial 2/3 male Positive reasons for job change and retirement High incomes Home owners Stay or retire from choice and for interest To keep them you must make work interesting

    11. Survivors Unqualified (50%) Routine/semi-routine work 2/3 male Highest proportion divorced Negative reasons for change and retirement Poor health Home owners still working / renters are retired Keeping them requires money

    12. Jugglers Qualified (below degree) Spread across socio-economic range Almost all are married women Home owners Working part-time Low incomes Work in SMEs After retirement may take up voluntary work Flexibility is critical

    13. Questions for Employers? Do you have adequate information on: current age profile of your workforce, aspirations of your older workforce future skill supply trends implications of age discrimination legislation Is there age bias in your policies or practice in relation to: recruitment, promotion, training, leave, retirement Do you have fair and workable mechanisms for dismissal?

    14. Persuading them to stay If it was necessary to retain key skills and manpower could you offer: greater autonomy for workers flexible hours part-time/occasional work career guidance, including mid career review and retirement preparation retraining for older workers carer leave progressive phasing out options of older workers changing roles for older workers - mentoring etc

    15. Three offers Volunteers for the CROW study of employer practice for DTI Clients for the CROW consultancy service Partners for future research Contact: Professor Stephen McNair, CROW, Senate House, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH