Nearly 10% of employers introduced support for retaining employees aged over 50 in the past year, new research has revealed.
According to Aviva’s Working Lives Report 2023, these initiatives included apprenticeship programmes, mid-life MOTs, job-sharing, and opportunities for “part-tirement” (semi or partial retirement).
Around three-quarters (76%) of employers surveyed consider retaining employees over 50 important, with 32% stating it is very important.
The report highlighted that in the past year, around one in 10 employers introduced new initiatives to help their employees. These include support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), retaining over-50s employees, menopause symptoms, LGBTIQ+ employees, neurodiverse employees, and employees experiencing fertility issues.
Aviva’s head of wellbeing, Debbie Bullock, said: “Employees over 50 can be a valuable asset to an organisation, bringing a breadth of experience and skills. It is important they are supported by employers in a way that recognises their individual needs.
“Improving retention rates can be supported by apprenticeship programmes, which offer an opportunity to re-skill, and mid-life MOTs, which are a free check-up of your wealth, work, and wellbeing. It is also worth considering options for job-sharing, ‘part-tirement’, and seasonal working to cover peak times.”
Bullock explained that while it is commonly felt that careers should follow a linear upward trajectory, moving up the ranks with age, some older workers also value flexibility. They may also enjoy the social company and general wellbeing that comes with a job, rather than fulfilling promotion aspirations.
She added: “It is time to break down the taboo that career success necessarily means promotion, especially in later working lives. Employers have a role in encouraging their people to use their skills in less pressurised roles and jobs they enjoy. Apprenticeships are not just for the young and are another way to reskill older workers into alternative roles.
“Staying in work and coming back to work has some clear benefits for older workers besides the financial security, which they appear to recognise. The social aspect of work and the act of going to work can contribute to improved mental and physical health. Aside from the positive implications for individuals, it has potential benefits for society and the economy.”
Providing support for a diverse range of wellbeing needs is not just the right thing to do, it also makes sound commercial sense, Bullock insisted.
She concluded: “When people feel supported by their employer, it helps to alleviate the pressure they might be under and allows them to be their authentic selves when coming into work. This in turn improves morale and motivation, which in turn improves productivity and performance.”