Older workers bring advantages and challenges

One-third of employer respondents have seen the average age of their workforce increase over the last year, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).

Its Group risk employer research study 2012 found that the removal of the default retirement age (DRA) in April 2011 has allowed 25% of respondents to retain knowledge and experience, while 59% of respondents are now more likely to recruit employees aged 50 and over.

It also found that some respondents have experienced disadvantages of having an older workforce, with 27% reporting an increase in absence rates or age-related health conditions such as arthritis since the removal of the DRA.

The study also found:

  • 23% of respondents felt older workers were a store of knowledge.
  • 22% of respondents felt older workers were more likely to be loyal to the organisation.
  • 14% of respondents said older workers have the ability to motivate other staff.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson at Grid, said: “Older employees can bring a wealth of experience, confidence and mentoring skills to [an organisation], so it’s great to see the average age of the workforce increasing.

“However, as our survey demonstrates, an increase in absence rates and age-related health conditions can present a challenge to employers, which can then have a knock-on effect to benefits provision.

“Through the provision of insured protection products, employers play a vital role in ensuring that staff and their families are adequately protected from the financial devastation that death or disability can bring.

“These products also include additional support services which can be extremely effective in keeping people in the workplace.”