The future of work in an ageing population

 , —  Reports

How can we prepare for an ageing workforce? Our first 2 reports focus on workplace infrastructure and older people’s roles as volunteers and carers.

The average age of the UK population is expected to increase significantly over the coming decades, affecting society as a whole. According to the ONS, the proportion of the UK population aged 65+ is projected to reach 24.3% by 2037.

At the Future of an Ageing Population project, we aim to help government improve the quality of the ageing experience in the UK and ensure that the impact of population ageing is as positive as possible for citizens of all ages.

One of the ways we hope to achieve this is by bringing together the best academic evidence as a resource for policymakers and others. Over the summer we will be publishing a series of evidence reviews on a range of themes such as housing, lifelong education, technology, health and much more. These are not statements of government policy, but reviews of the existing research around issues relevant to the ageing population by independent experts in their field.

Our first 2 reviews are being published today and focus on work in an ageing population, and older people’s roles as volunteers and carers. A big thank you to both authors for their valuable contribution to the project.

Changing the workplace

Worker using a paving slab handling device
New technologies in the construction industry can help people to continue working (source: TNO, Netherlands)

Professor Peter Buckle’s paper on workplace infrastructure examines the literature on the built environment and technology infrastructure to consider changes that will enable people to extend their working lives.

He looks at the barriers faced by older workers in different sectors, how workplaces can overcome these and the fact that older workers are considered valuable employees because of their knowledge, skills and experience. BMW’s ‘Today for Tomorrow’ programme, for example, has used a co-design approach to introduce a range of small changes that improved the efficiency of an experimental production line for their age-diverse workforce.

Work, informal care and volunteering

Professor James Nazroo’s paper focuses on the interplay between roles related to paid work, volunteering and informal care provision in later life, and how these activities relate to health and wellbeing. This documents the significant role the over 50s play in the provision of care (for older parents, partners and grandchildren), and wider volunteering. While there is much debate in the literature, he finds that involvement in paid work and volunteering roles is likely to have a positive impact on wellbeing if these roles are of good quality.

Read the reports

We’d love to know what you think. What are the main drivers of change here? Are we missing a crucial bit of evidence? Please leave your comments below.

Featured image by Vicky Hodgson. Photograph provided courtesy of the Age Action Alliance.

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by Dan Keating

Not being facetious but, as an 83 year old computer enthusiast, the man in the photo at the top should be advised to get more suitable glasses if he is to avoid waking up with a stiff neck ! I have a section on that subject on my website at

by Dan Keating

If we only new that ageing and ageism is a global problem then we would reach out to other countries to access the best available knowledge for productive ageing, lifelong learning, digital literacy, computer literacy, financial literacy, financial education and other important subject areas for the purpose of improving the quality of life for all seniors in the world.

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