The government needs to improve the job market for the Plus Fifty age groups if, as they say, they want us to work into our later years.
Many of us indeed want to continue to work but the figures are increasingly showing that redundancies due to the recession have left a huge amount of Plus Fifties claiming job seekers allowance.
According to ACAS there are currently 20 million people aged 50 and over in the UK and by 2030 this will reach 27 million – an increase of an astonishing 37 %. The stereotypical approach to the aging workforce no longer works; employers will have to find a new approach to working with the Plus Fifty age group. The percentage of the workforce that will be in the Plus Fifty age bracket is rising, by 2020 it will be a third, and without the backup of the youth to replace them. Employers will have to begin looking for a more flexible approach to working hours and conditions.
Training and development is not something which is restricted to the younger generation. It is not true that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, maybe we on occasions choose not to learn, but then so do young people. Many of us job seekers thrive on the new and are engaged with change, others aren’t but that is nothing to do with being older. I am not saying that all of us or most of us will want to continue to work to learn, to develop, I just think we should be given the choice and opportunity. I believe that we are still capable and able and will be until we choose to stop. I know employers baulk at the idea of employing a 70 year old full time but why not let us wind down at our pace – we can work part time, job share, work shorter days. The options are available; we now need open minds to accommodate them.
I heard a car salesman talking about recruitment the other day, and was shocked by his blinkered attitude. He didn’t want to take on an older person as he thought a younger person would be more committed to a career. What he failed to realise was the age group purchasing his new cars were not young people but older people who would be more trusting of a life experienced person than a young boy. We are still able to learn and to develop our skills – whilst still offering commitment and expertise; we are not on the scrap heap yet!
When looking at job applications and we see “lively and dynamic” that isn’t code for young it shouldn’t rule our age group out, don’t look at it negatively we are still dynamic and lively we have much more still to offer.