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Older Workers Want More Flexible Working Hours, But Age Discrimination Remains “Rife”

A new survey by Saga Populus, which was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has found that 78% of older workers would like greater flexibility in terms of working hours, whilst 73% would like to see more part-time roles. However, another report has found that age discrimination remains “rife”

New Survey Into The Needs Of Older Workers

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) commissioned Saga Populus to undertake the new survey in order to identify the needs of older workers as part of its ageing society grand challenge, and in order to help reduce age discrimination in the workplace.

Saga Populus interviewed 12,058 people aged 50 and over for its survey

The new survey found that:-

  • 78% of older workers wanted greater flexibility in terms of working hours
  • 73% of those interviewed would like to see more part-time roles
  • 63% of older workers stated that they would like to see more training provided, in terms of learning new skills and using new technology
  • 48% of those interviewed wanted more help with dealing with the physical health effects of aging, whilst 27% wanted more help with mental health issues
  • 33% of older workers believed that it should be made a formal requirement for employers to have a “diverse age mix” in relation to its employees

Discrimination Against Older Workers “Rife”

An earlier report published by the Women and Equalities Committee on the 4th July 2018 stated that: “Age discrimination in all its forms is against the law and, in employment, has been for more than 12 years. The UK has had a ban on age discrimination in employment since 2006. In 2010 the Equality Act brought all the different anti-discrimination laws together into a single statute, including the ban on age discrimination. Despite this, when we asked witnesses what they thought was the most significant barrier to older people working, almost all told us that it was age bias and discrimination, most significantly in recruitment. Yvonne Sonsino, a partner at Mercer and the Co-Chair of the DWP Fuller Working Lives Business Strategy Group described such bias as “rife”,22 as did Age UK.”

In response to the latest report from Saga Populus, the Minister for Small Business, Kelly Tolhurst, stated: “We want to champion the role of older workers in the economy and ensure they have equal opportunities to both remain in and to find employment, so anyone who wants to can work for longer. Employers have an invaluable role to play in meeting the needs of older workers and we want to encourage employers, where possible, to adopt flexible working practices.”

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