Last updated: 12.02.15

Employers should 'retain skills of existing workers'

At a time when more people aged 50 and over are looking to retire later, employers must work harder to retain the skills of their existing employees, after a new report has revealed that older workers have a higher risk of becoming jobless in comparison to their younger counterparts.

The study, entitled 'The Missing Million: Pathways back into employment', follows previous research that highlights the obstacles employees aged over 50 - and who are made jobless - are faced with.

It suggests that despite over-50s and younger workers expressing a desire to work, older employees are being confronted by significant barriers.

The report also revealed that of those aged between 50 and 64 who experienced a change in their economic status, just 30.5 per cent became successfully employed. On the other hand, more people in this age group became permanently unemployed.

Although age discrimination was cited as the main barrier that older people face in the workplace, health and illness concerns were also listed as career-restricting factors.  

Ros Altmann, the government’s new older workers' business champion, said: “Businesses across the country are waking up to the potential of older workers - as the over-50s become the fast-growing section of society. But there is more to do to end the outdated and inaccurate perceptions that can hold them back.

“Millions of over-50s are now looking to retire later - as working later in life becomes the new norm - so it is essential to ensure their skills are kept up-to-date, and there is support for them to even take on a new career to make the most of their energy and experience.”

Businesses and local communities are being urged to take action in order to remove the barriers faced by older workers and ensure they stay in employment.

Virtual College provide a range of online tools that specialise in CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training to help workers maintain and develop their skills. For more information, please visit: