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
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.
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.