Thinking of staying in work for a few more years but concerned that employers will not be interested in a 60- or even 70-something? Then think again. It looks like many of Britain’s top employers have got the message that having more older people in the workforce will be essential to their future.
As part of a new Government initiative to secure an extra one million roles for older UK workers over the next five years, eight top companies have signed a pledge – to both publish the numbers of older workers on their payroll and also to increase this figure by 12% by 2022.
Big names include the Co-op, Boots, Barclays, Aviva, Atos, with smaller organisations such as Home Instead Senior Care, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Mercer also signing up.
What’s the reasoning behind all this? Business in the Community say we have a jobs gap of 7.5 million on the horizon. The fall-out from Brexit will certainly be fewer overseas employees coming into the UK, piling even more pressure on employers in some industries.
Rachael Saunders, their Age at Work Director, said: “The UK simply cannot meet its growth and productivity objectives without adapting to retain, recruit and develop people aged over 50.”
Andy Briggs, the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers as well as the CEO of Aviva UK Life, has urged other businesses to get on board, saying: “The UK is facing a colossal skills gap, and older workers are vital to filling it.”
The call comes amid a pre-election debate on whether to keep pushing up the State Pension Age past the currently assigned age of 67. While that is causing many people heading towards retirement concern, at least one organisation thinks it is nowhere enough.
According to the World Economic Forum, the UK should impose faster pension age rises to avoid a quadrupling of the savings gap to £25tn by 2050. It warn of a “pensions time bomb” that an ageing population will place on future generations
Falling birth rates and gaps in access to pensions are, say the WEF, the main sources of the widening “pension gap”. The latter is defined as the shortfall in money needed for a retiree to keep their income at 70% of pre-retirement levels.
They are arguing that we need to be thinking now about how to integrate 75 and even 80-year- olds in the workplace.
So, if you are having a one-sided discussion with your employer about staying on past State Pension Age, remember that changes to the Default Retirement Age do give you rights on that decision, and also point them towards what companies with an eye on the future are doing.
But when can you afford to retire?
If your decision of when to retire is based on when you can afford to leave work, or reduce your hours, then you might find it useful to check out the long term implications for your finances.
You can do that on the www.retireeasy.co.uk website which helps you see how much money you need to live the life you are planning. The Basic version is free to use, while the paid for versions allow you to map out different scenarios as well as keep a constant check on the value of your savings.
The big question to be asked is this: can I afford to retire on the amount of money I can expect to receive? If the answer is a resounding no, those able to return to/remain in the workforce should at least be exploring the options available to them – including having conversations with their employer, considering setting up their own business, or cutting their cloth.
To find out if or when YOU can afford to retire, a few minutes spent on RetireEasy LifePlan, playing through some of the scenarios, will give you all the answers you need to know – even if they are not necessarily the ones you want to hear!
By Tony Watts OBE, Director of www.retireeasy.co.uk