Employers offer flexible working to support ageing workforce

Over a quarter of employers (27%) have introduced flexible-working initiatives to meet the needs of their ageing workforce, according to research by Group Risk Development (Grid).

Older worker

The group risk employer research study, which surveyed 500 UK businesses and 1,000 employees, also found that 19% of employers are modifying roles and 16% changing procedures to ensure the needs of older workers are met. 

The study also found:

  • Since the abolishment of the Default Retirement Age in October 2011, 14% of employer respondents have introduced different working patterns, such as more frequent breaks, and 10% have brought in training for older workers to ensure they feel as up to speed as younger staff.
  • 11% of the employers questioned have seen an increase in absence rates due to an older workforce, while 20% have seen a rise in age-related conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
  • 15% of employer respondents have refocused their health, wellbeing and absence initiatives in order to better manage older members of staff.
  • 22% of employers said dealing with an ageing workforce was one of their top three priorities.
  • Of the employees asked how their needs will change as the UK workforce ages, 36% said they thought they would have to supplement their pension by continuing to work, while 22% said they would want to carry on working for enjoyment and routine regardless of their financial position.
  • 35% of staff surveyed said they would have to save more to meet longer life expectancy. However, 20% said that in order to stay in work, they would need increasingly more health-related support and 24% felt they would need help staying fit and active. 

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “While it’s encouraging to see that employers are adjusting their work environment, we still see a lot of employers which have not changed their benefit plans to accommodate older workers so it’s worth revisiting benefit provision to ensure that it fully reflects the business’s intentions around the needs of its ageing workforce.

“This is also about protecting businesses. To reap the benefits that older workers can bring, employers must address the possible challenges ahead and act now to ensure they have robust initiatives and benefits in place to ensure they can effectively manage the health and attendance of an older workforce when the time comes.”