Average exit age is: Men: 64.5 Women: 62.7 A man retiring at 65 in 1981 typically had about 14 years of retirement; today it is around 21 years. A woman retiring at 60 in 1981 would have about 22 years of retirement – today it is around 28 years. But on average men still leave the labour market earlier now than they did in the 1950s and 1960s : in 1960 the average exit age for a man was over 66, in 1950 it was over 67, now it’s still under 65 despite significant increases in life expectancy.
Opportunities for Older Employment
Opportunities for Older Employment
1-6 Tavistock Square
Ian Rutter, Senior Manager - Engage Business Network
14:15 The Importance of Older Workers
Elaine Squires, Deputy Director Department for Work and Pensions |
14:35 McDonald’s Case Study
Michele Ryan, HR Director - McDonald’s
15:00 Your current workforce; questions, queries and challenges answered
Questions to the expert panel, chaired by Chris Ball, CEO, TAEN
Ian Rutter – Senior Manager, Engage Business Network
36.3% of those people aged between 50 and
State Pension Age were out of work, as of
Those people who lose their jobs over 50 only
have a 10% chance of being re-employed.
Some employers define an “older worker” as “a
woman over 35” and “a man over 42”.
“We conducted an experiment where we sent out job applications to
both advertised and non-advertised positions. We applied to each
position both as a younger worker and one in their 50s so that we
could identify any discrimination according to age in the early stages
of the recruitment process.
The researchers sent out CVs for bar work which showed four years
of relevant experience but an age which was either 25 or 51, and also
CVs for personal assistant jobs showing 5 years’ experience and an
age of either 24 or 50. In each case, the younger worker got more
responses; the younger CVs were 125 per cent more likely to get a
response for bar work than the older ones.”
“Employers need to take age seriously because older
workers will form an increasing percentage of the working
population. The people we recruit will be older and the
people we train and develop will be older. It’s in
everyone’s interests to make the most of the skills and
experience of all employees, regardless of age.”
“Extending working lives increases the supply of labour,
raising the potential levels of gross domestic product and
DWP Working Paper
“In 2011, employers reported that almost 1.5 million
employees are deemed not fully proficient as they have a
By taking steps to increase the employment of older
workers, countries can avert economic stagnation
Increasing the number of older workers and making
productivity-enhancing investments in human capital,
governments and businesses could boost growth and job
Retaining older workers is likely to increase overall
Participation among elderly workers is associated with
greater participation among younger workers
Organisations can sustain older workers’ productivity
by adapting the workplace to their needs
BMW’ s production line composed of a majority of elderly
workers increased its productivity
•80% of the workforce now takes advantage of flexible
•Workforce age diversity has increased: 21% aged over
50 and 24% under 25
•Labour turnover reduced to 21% and absence to 3.1%
(compared to retail averages at the time of 28% and
•The greater age diversity in the training groups improved
the behaviour and maturity of the group as a whole, and
older trainees often acted as life mentors for less
experienced team members.
•A bigger target recruitment market has meant reduced
costs and a wider diversity in the applicant pool. The
company’s reputation has been enhanced as an employer
•The skills, experiences and value that older workers can
bring to the business have enormous advantages. It
makes sense to harness these skills and experiences,
which would otherwise be lost through imposing a default
•There are currently 1,957 valued employees of the Group
over the age of 65, who continue to make a positive
contribution to our success and growth.
•Flexible hours help to attract staff to cover busy periods.
•Staff retention levels are well above the industry norms.
•More life experience particularly beneficial to pub
Marks & Spencer
•Has no retirement age; retains highly effective staff.
•Increased loyalty of employees who value choice to work
•Performance management used in an identical way for
workers of all ages.
•Has successfully removed the retirement age and has
seen the number of employees who want to work past the
age of 65 increase significantly.
•Marks & Spencer has one of the lowest employee
turnover rates in UK retail.
The importance of older workers
Redefining Retirement Division
An Ageing Population
• There are currently 4 adults aged 16 to 64 for every adult over 65.
This ratio is projected to drop to 3:1 by 2025 and eventually to 2:1.
However, planned changes to SPA will keep the ratio of working age
people to those above SPA fairly consistent at a sustainable level.
• We’re living longer and seven million people are not saving enough
to provide the income they want in retirement.
• The Pensions Commission (2006) said society as a whole and
individuals have to make a choice between having more poorer
pensioners, paying more tax, saving more, or working longer.
• Working longer is one way for people to ensure they have an
adequate income in retirement.
Average retirement age has been rising over the last
Average age of exit
Life Expectancy at 65
Gap in 1984 – 16.3 years
Gap in 2010 – 21.6 years
1984 1987 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 2005 2008 2011
… but is not keeping pace
with life expectancy
• The proportion of people in work
past State Pension Age has
continued to rise – now 1.4 million
• Most other countries have also seen
increase in employment post
Working longer benefits for individuals and the economy
• Enabling older people who can work to stay in work is critical to the economy
and pensions sustainability – and to the financial, health and social well-
being of individuals.
For the individual
• Working longer is one way for people to ensure they have an adequate
income in retirement. Retiring 2 years after state pension age and continuing
to save in that time can enhance private pension income by 20%
For the economy:
Everyone working a year longer would – all other things being equal:
• add 1% to GDP (about £14bn)
• Bring in about £7bn in additional taxes by 2018.
Older workers increasing in the UK labour market
• 66 per cent of 50-64 year olds are in employment compared to around 71
per cent of 16-64 year olds
• Employment rates decrease sharply from age 60
• Unemployment for 50-64 year olds rose steeply through 2008 and 2009, but
rose from a low base, and unemployment still much lower than for other
• Unemployment rates low as older workers tend to either retire, or move onto
health related benefits.
• But once unemployed more likely to be long term unemployed – or never
Older people can find it harder to get back to work
• Among older workers – that they’ve “done their bit”, or face discrimination
• Among employers – older workers can’t be trained
• Among others - wide perception that there are things people can’t do or
shouldn’t be doing past a certain age.
Skills and qualifications
• Knowledge of the modern job market or competence based interviews
• Out of date qualifications (eg employers asking for A* GCSEs)
• Need to move to different industry or career
Flexibility and Health
• Many older people want to work part time or in other flexible pattern
• Health issues can change what people can do. (50% of incapacity benefit
caseload over 50)
Evidence challenges outdated assumptions
Older workers generally:
• remain as productive in most jobs at least up to age 70, particularly where
they get the same levels of training as younger workers
• have lower levels of short term sickness.
• are better at dealing with stressful situations owing to years of experience
• are just as trainable as younger workers
• have lower levels of staff turnover
• don’t block opportunities for younger workers
• can mentor new recruits and apprentices to increase productivity.
We are working with individuals and employers
• Tailored back to work support including skills provision and job serach
• DWP’s Age Positive Initiative provides guidance and case studies to
employers and business organisations on employing older workers and the
business benefits of adopting flexible approaches to work and retirement.
• Our extensive Sector Initiative, worked with over 80 employer lead
organisations across 9 of the largest sectors to help employers manage
removal of the default retirement age.
• Age Positive guidance is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/agepositive
The Impact of Older Workers:
How Older Workers will be pivotal in helping
McDonald’s achieve its customer service vision
Michele Ryan, HR Director, McDonald’s UK
Survey of McDonald’s Managers
69% said older workers
empathise and connect well
47% said older workers
‘go the extra mile’ to deliver
great customer service
44% believe they mentor