The government has launched a new scheme to help remove barriers keeping older workers out of the jobs market after figures show that over 50s are still the main age group dropping out of work.
On 21 November, for the start of Older Workers Week, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that a network of dedicated ‘50PLUS Champions’ were now in place across the UK.
The Champions work with Jobcentres to fill vacancies and assist work coaches to change employer attitudes about hiring over 50s.
Minister for Employment, Guy Opperman MP, said: “Older workers are a huge asset to our country and our economy. I want to support them to get into work.”
An age-inclusive workforce makes business sense too. Our 50 PLUS Champions will work with leading employers across the country to connect job-ready people with the vast number of opportunities out there.”
DWP has also introduced the Jobcentre Mid-Life MOT service which supports people to take stock and make plans for their work, wealth and wellbeing into the future.
People aged 50 to 64 years currently make up more than half – around 1.3 million people – of those classed as off work due to long-term sickness.
Retail had the highest numbers of workers off work, followed by transport and storage and the hospitality industry. “This partially reflects how the prevalence of disability and chronic health conditions increases with age,” said ONS.
However, people citing sickness were also off work for ‘another main reason’ said the ONS.
This included looking after the family or home, followed by being a student, with young people also seeing increases in economic inactivity.
ONS added that more understanding is needed about the impacts of long Covid, the ageing workforce and NHS waiting times. “A range of factors could be influencing [the] recent increase in economic inactivity,” it said.
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