Call for better support to help workers over 50 manage their longer working life
(C) 2007 Thinkstock
Employers are being encouraged to rethink the help they offer to older workers after research by an East Anglian insurance group found a significant number of over-50s feel unsupported at work.
According to the study by Aviva, almost two thirds (63%) of those aged over 50 in work – about 6.4 million people – are planning to retire later than they thought they would 10 years ago.
But almost half (44%) of those still in work feel unsupported by their employer when it comes to their career ambitions, compared to 25% of those aged 25 to 34.
With over 50s expected to make up one third of the UK workforce by 2020, Aviva, which is headquartered in Norwich’s Surrey Street, is urging businesses to help their older employees adapt to a longer working life.
Lindsey Rix, managing director of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “Working for longer brings opportunities and challenges in many areas of life, which means that supporting staff beyond the age of 50 has to become about much more than just financial planning.
“Our findings suggest that older employees have a lot to offer at work, despite the challenges they face around workplace support. To make the most of this, employers need to provide rounded support for this generation where their wellbeing and work-related needs are considered alongside the financial challenge of saving for retirement.”
Aviva is piloting a “mid-life MOT” for its staff to help them consider the challenges and opportunities which they will face in work, wealth and wellbeing as they get older.
The findings from this pilot will help inform discussions with government and the business community about how best to support UK employees more broadly beyond the age of 50.
Ms Rix added: “Our ambition is to help create the right conditions for people to see opportunities through the uncertainties that come with longer working lives, so they can continue to progress at work and lead fulfilling careers, regardless of their age.”
Aviva highlighted potential changes to help support workers, including allowing them to reduce their hours or work flexibly, free independent financial advice, workshops on retirement finances, and a dedicated member of staff to discuss these issues.
Of those older workers who have access to workplace support, a fifth (21%) told Aviva that it had played an important role in their later life planning.