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New recommendations to increase support for older workers

The state pension age is set to rise to 68 in 2028

New research from the Fabian Society has outlined 20 recommendations to address pre-retirement poverty.

The socialist organisation’s report, published yesterday (17 April), highlighted that nearly 1m people aged 60 to 65 in the UK are living in poverty due to being without work, working reduced hours, having low earnings, having inadequate benefits or not taking up benefits, and not having enough retirement savings.

The report's recommendations include offering targeted training and employment support for older workers, and increasing pension and financial support.

Sara Thompson, group HR director of the savings and retirement business Phoenix Group, explained that it is important for employers to attract and retain older employees.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “Almost 30% of the population in the UK is over 50. We need to ensure that we attract and retain experienced skilled workers, and enable them to stay in meaningful, well-paid work for as long as possible.”

Read more: State pension age must increase to 71 by 2050, researchers say

The Fabian report also showed that the number of people over 60 living in poverty and who are not yet eligible for a state pension has tripled since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

The state pension age is set to rise from 66 to 68 in 2028, and research in February this year found that the state pension will need to rise to 71 by 2050.

Thompson suggested that offering flexible working could help retain workers over 50.

She added: “We know from our own experience that offering flexible working helps to attract talent, increases productivity, reduces sickness absence and retains over 50s in our workforce. 

“This in turn allows them to pay into their pensions, save for the future and avoid the pensions saving gap that so many people in the UK are facing.”

Read more: A million more workers aged over 65 than in 2000

Thompson continued: “Female colleagues and those over the age of 50 are the groups making the greatest use of the flexibility we offer, including working part-time or compressed hours.”

René Janssen, founder of the learning and development provider Lepaya, told HR magazine that HR should offer training that meets the needs of older employees.

He said: “The training provided by employers should directly meet the needs of older workers. Multigenerational workforces bring diverse perspectives, skills and experiences that enhance innovation and creativity.”

Janssen continued that investing in the older workforce could help bridge the skills gap and improve labour shortages.

He commented: “Investing in the older workforce not only benefits individuals but can also help organisations battle talent retention and talent shortages, as the older generation represents an untapped market. 

“With the growing ageing workforce, there’s a wealth of experienced talent with transferable skills that could transition to new careers in industries, such as technology, that struggle to attract skilled talent.”