The majority (71%) of employees plan to work beyond the age of 65, and 32% feel that flexible-working initiatives are the best way to attract and support older employees, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.
The survey, conducted among 1,002 full- and part-time employees in April 2019, also found that employees planning to work past the age of 65 felt their most valued benefits would be income protection (17%), life insurance (16%), critical illness cover (13%) and employee assistance programmes (EAPs) (10%).
Approximately three in 10 (28%) respondents noted that having a diverse mix of ages within an employee base creates a wider range of skills, while 43% agreed that organisations value the experience of older workers. A further 40% noted that employees aged over 65 are valued for their loyalty, while 62% of respondents aged above 55 had indeed been with their organisation for 10 years or more.
Paul Avis, marketing director of Canada Life Group Insurance, said: “Older workers are an invaluable component of the UK workforce given their extensive industry knowledge and expertise that all colleagues, particularly younger generations, can benefit from. They also represent a valuable talent pool for employers as Britain struggles to counter a growing skills shortage.”
However, almost three in 10 (27%) respondents voiced concerns that employers might see older staff as a hassle, due to the increased likelihood of health concerns. In addition, respondents stated that older workers are seen as less productive (21%), less likely to adapt (30%) and less skilled with technology (30%).
“It’s an unfortunate fact of life that health concerns tend to become more frequent as we age, and will become more common in the workforce as we live and work for longer,” added Avis.
“Workers over the age of 65, therefore, have a more immediate need for employee benefits that provide both financial and emotional support should they become ill or suffer an injury. Employers that want to keep and recruit these valuable workers should offer protection products that have the additional benefit of offering a wide range of support services, from early intervention to [EAPs] and second medical opinion services. All of these can be used without having to make a claim, adding daily value and proving employers’ commitment to their staff’s health.”