17 Jun 2019

Age discrimination remains an issue for many mid-life workers

Age discrimination remains an issue for many mid-life workers

More than a third of mid-life workers believe that age discrimination is an issue where they work.

This emerged following new analysis published by Aviva, which is now warning of a potential 'brain drain'.

The insurer discovered that 37% of UK employees aged 45 and over thought that age discrimination was a problem in their workplace - and the figure rose to 41% for those aged 55 to 59.

Aviva says more than 50% of employees aged 60 and over are not ready to retire, increasing to 61% of people still working past the age of 65.

The study among employees and businesses highlights that working for enjoyment and the benefit of social interaction increases with age.

The insurer says workers in mid-life have typically amassed significant skills, experience and knowledge, creating 'muscle memory' that can be invaluable to their employer.


However, the research - which examined worker and employer attitudes towards ageing in the workplace - highlights a potential 'brain drain' unless businesses do more to support this growing demographic.

While 73% of workers in their 50s and 60s feel they share invaluable skills, experience and knowledge with colleagues, Aviva's findings reveal that 16% of mid-life employees feel this is not valued by their company.

However, many firms are reported to share employees' concerns about age discrimination.

Almost a fifth of employers said it was a main concern of theirs, while 20% said they were concerned about how they will respond to the challenge of an ageing workforce.

Aviva says its findings highlight the need for companies to put the right support in place to ensure employees in mid-life feel valued at work.

There are currently a record 10 million workers over the age of 50 and, in the next decade, this population is forecast to grow to represent more than a third of all workers in the UK.

Without the right support in place, Aviva says firms will potentially miss out on the talent of this important age group.


Lindsey Rix, managing director of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: "Age should not be a barrier to opportunity, but our findings suggest employees are worried about age discrimination.  We want to challenge this concern.

"Evolving social and workplace trends mean we must all be prepared for a more fluid working life. The mid-life population offers invaluable skills and experience that companies are potentially missing out on.

"Firms need to take action - not doing so risks a punishing labour shortage in the years to come and a huge waste of talent and potential."

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