Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content

Ageing workforce introduction image

Ageing workforce

Highly skilled, reliable, experienced and efficient. There are a number of benefits to having or hiring an older employee.

The proportion of older workers is increasing but this isn’t something to feel wary of. Older employees are often confident in their abilities, serving as excellent mentors, coaches or assistants able to manage ambitious younger employees.

Older employees typically take less unexpected short term sickness leave, but they are at a higher risk of taking long term sickness due to age related health concerns. It is unlawful to discriminate a current or prospective employee based on their age and this is relevant for every age, including young people.

With one third of the workforce in the UK being over 50 and with the prediction of workers over 50 to increase to 34 per cent by 2050, businesses need to find a way to support and utilise the knowledge of this key workforce demographic.

A report by the CIPD looks at the benefits of older workers and the challenges faced by older workers and businesses including areas such as:

  • Health and well-being
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Hours worked
  • Managing retirement
  • Equality and the ageing workforce

Age is one of the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. To make sure you are meeting the regulations in the act, whether it be working hours or the wording of job descriptions, you can find out everything you need to know about the Equality Act via the button below.

Find out more

Ensure you have organisational readiness with regard to an ageing workforce

  • Have a detailed understanding of the age demographic profile of your organisation, overall and at departmental/sectional level
  • Understand the impact workforce demographics can have on all business/operational planning activities
  • Have appropriate policies covering, for example, work life balance, flexible working, flexible retirement, carer’s leave, reasonable adjustments and redeployment that take account of workforce profiling and the need to support an ageing workforce
  • Promote effective health and wellbeing strategies with initiatives targeted at different age groups of staff where data suggests this will be beneficial
  • Provide appropriate ergonomic equipment to take account of an ageing workforce and the cumulative effects of physical work demands that working longer can have
  • Carry out regular risk assessments, make adjustments where necessary
  • Promote flexible retirement opportunities where possible and appropriate
  • Make sure that appropriate learning and development is offered to all staff of all ages and expects staff of all ages to take up relevant opportunities
Download the checklist


What is the default retirement age?

There is no default retirement age, unless it can be justified (however, there is still a state pension age, and some companies will have an occupational pension age)

What is Age Discrimination?

There are 4 types of age discrimination; direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Direct discrimination - an employer refuses to offer a job to an older person.

Indirect discrimination - can occur when a policy, practice or procedure disadvantages an older employee.

Harassment - any unwanted conduct, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment to an individual related to age.

Victimisation - unfair treatment of an employee who has made or supported a complaint about age discrimination.

Resources thumbnail image


Mid-life MOT

You can realise the benefits of an ageing workforce by supporting a mid-life MOT in the workplace to help your employees prepare for their future and your own.

For people aged 40+, the mid-life MOT is a great way to review their finances, skills and health to get ready for the many opportunities that the future will bring.

Find out more

Age-friendly employer toolkit

A toolkit for becoming an age-friendly employer from Business In The Community.

Find out more

Health & safety for older workers

Throughout our working lives our bodies undergo changes as we grow older. Employers need to take these changes into account when they manage the health and safety of their staff.

Find out more

Being a care friendly employer

The peak age of caring is between 55-64 years. Managing caring for others with work responsibilities can sometimes be challenging. Getting support at the right time can help balance paid work and caring responsibilities.

Find out more