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Aviva pledges to bring 1,000 more older workers into workforce by 2022

Aviva Group logo. Picture: Lloyd Sturdy/VisualMedia

Aviva Group logo. Picture: Lloyd Sturdy/VisualMedia

Lloyd Sturdy/VisualMedia

A Norfolk insurance group is pledging to beat a government target for businesses to increase the number of over-50s in their workforces.

Andy Briggs, chief executive of UK Insurance and Global Life and Health at Aviva. Picture: AvivaAndy Briggs, chief executive of UK Insurance and Global Life and Health at Aviva. Picture: Aviva

Aviva has set an internal target to take on another 1,000 people aged over 50 in the next five years, after a government champion from the firm announced an intention to get one million more older people into work across the UK by 2022.

The group, which has its headquarters in Surrey Street in Norwich, already employs 3,000 older workers in its 16,000-strong workforce. Bringing on board another 1,000 would mean a quarter of its staff (25%) were aged over 50.

Meanwhile a 67-year-old Aviva employee, who spent 16 years helping older people get back into work, has praised the company for its “proactive” approach to achieving the target.

It comes after Andy Briggs, chief executive of UK Insurance and Global Life and Health at Aviva, was appointed as the government’s business champion for older workers earlier this year. He has called for one million more older workers to join the workforce in the next five years – equal to each company increasing the number of over-50s in employment by 12%.

Malcolm Smith, a claims handler at Aviva in Norwich, who is championing the employment of older workers at the firm. Picture: AvivaMalcolm Smith, a claims handler at Aviva in Norwich, who is championing the employment of older workers at the firm. Picture: Aviva

An Aviva spokesman said: “We want our workforce to be reflective of both the communities we work in and of the customers we serve. A business that reflects its customers and communities will make better decisions and be better able to deliver excellent products and services.”

The EDP/EADT Top 100 company operates a programme of activities published by Business in the Community, which is involved in the initiative, which gives advice on retaining, recruiting and retraining older staff members, including new contracts for employees after official retirement, more roles suitable for flexible working, and reverse mentoring for older staff.

When the government target was launched in February, Mr Briggs said it was “ambitious yet necessary”. He said: “We live in an ageing society so it is critical that people are able to work for as long as they need and want to and there are overwhelming benefits for employers and employees.”

By 2020 over 50s are expected comprise almost a third of the working age population. Of the 15m people aged 50-69 in the labour market, only 59% are in work. The government wants to increase this to 66%.

The older worker’s view

Malcolm Smith has worked as a claims handler in Aviva’s motor claims department in Norwich for 18 months.

The 67-year-old joined the company from community interest company FiftyON EAST, which focuses on helping unemployed people over 50 into sustainable work through training, workshops and support.

“Workers over 50 have some good skills, they are able to communicate well and once you get them installed they are going to stay with you, which is what organisations are looking for,” he said.

Mr Smith also worked on a DWP programme to help over-50s into work, but said its funding was redistributed to support apprenticeships.

He said: “I believe it will come around again because we do need the numbers of over-50s to grow within the workforce.

“Aviva is approaching this very pro-actively and Andy Briggs is fully committed. There is an active promotion of older workers through the whole country.”

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