Valuing Older Workers Report from CIPD

A new study launched by the CIPD today reveals that the UK could face serious skills shortages over the next 20 years if employers don’t change their approach to workforce planning as our population ages and demand for certain services rises.

New research1 from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development and the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), the independent think tank on longevity, ageing, and population change, brings to light the challenges the UK faces over the coming two decades. As a result, the CIPD is urging organisations across all sectors to take steps now to reap the benefits of a more age diverse workforce, rather than fall victim to a mass exodus of skills as their workforce ages.

There are currently 9.4 million workers in the UK today who are over the age of 502 and while the employment rate of older workers has increased significantly in recent years, there is still a 64% drop in the employment rate between the ages of 53 and 67.

Unless organisations start improving how they recruit, develop and retain older workers it is estimated that the UK economy will struggle to fill one million jobs by 2035 even taking into account the mitigating effect of migrant workers.

The health and social work, education and public administration sectors are most at risk of skills shortages. This is because they are not only highly reliant on older workers (around a third or more of their workforces are over 50), but also struggle more than other sectors to remain attractive places to work for older workers. The report also found that the manufacturing, construction and transport and storage sectors all have at least a third of workers aged over 50 and typically see at least a 50% fall in the number of people employed between the ages of 45-49 and 60-64.

[1] Analysis of the ONS’ Labour Force Survey, Q1-Q4 2014

[2] ILC-UK calculations based on ONS Labour Force Survey