24 January 2023

Time to hire old!

The words ‘cost of living crisis’ are etched into the brains of workers all around Britain – especially those whose pension pots are inferior to inflation that is nearing double digits. Alongside legitimate financial concerns, many people “miss the social aspect of work” and the sense of community that a workplace provides. Rising prices, opportunities for flexible work, and a post-pandemic longing for social contact have all intersected, meaning that many retirees are looking to become ‘unretired’ and secure employment once again.

The pressure is on for businesses to support and retain older workers due to an ever-aging population and declining birth rates. A survey by the Living, Learning, and Earning Longer Collaborative Initiative showed that more than eight in ten global leaders recognised that multigenerational workforces are key towards growth and can often be more creative.

However, re-entering the job market can be extremely daunting, especially when it’s accompanied by an ever-changing technological environment that you may not be familiar with. Some employers seem to be making this increasingly easy, with Fuller’s (the pub and hotel chain) individuals and expertise director Dawn Browne stating, “we can offer ultimate flexibility: if a person is an early bird or night owl, or only wants to work on a Friday or not on a Tuesday when they look after grandchildren, we can cater to that” just as they recently launched a recruitment campaign targeted at the older demographic. This upturn in flexibility options is becoming more common and will help those older workers looking to start earning again.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow work and pension secretary also announced plans to support the employment of over 50’s with a “mid-life MOT” service. He declared that if Labour were to win power in the next election it would become easier for those on sickness benefits to restart payments after they take a job that does not work out. In this he criticises the conservatives for “writing people off” and aims to encourage older workers and those with medical conditions back to work.

This is good news for those looking to re-enter the job market, and perhaps once companies realise the benefit of a diversified workforce, the focus then may be on retention of older employees rather than recruitment.