Are the older generation holding back the young?

Are the older generation holding back the young?

It's great that we’re now living longer - through advances in medicine, technology and living standards. However, as well as living longer, we’re also now working for longer.
But could this have detrimental, knock-on effects for the rest of society?
The raising of the official age of retirement means that workers who would have (had they reached 65 in years past) previously been allowed to retire on their 65th birthday are now required to work on - in some cases, for a good few years - before they can receive a state pension.
Perhaps it’s not such an issue to an employee in a settled position, but what if you were looking for work in the twilight years of your career?
B & Q is a company well-publicised for its welcoming of older workers. Keen to show inclusion, the firm employ a number of employees past the previous official retirement age; its Bristol depot employs Albert Billington, who, at 90 years old, is one of the UK’s oldest workers.
That’s fantastic news for the older generation, who may need to carry on working due to financial needs. For some pension-age employees, like Albert at B & Q, working keeps them feeling young. There are also many older workers who wouldn’t dream of leaving their jobs - at least, whilst they’re mentally and physically able to carry out their duties - simply because they enjoy their work so much.
But does the consequence of more post-65 employees, i.e. workers that would otherwise have retired, mean a scarcity of jobs for younger generations?
New research from Portus has shown that this issue is considered by some employers as a real threat to recruitment and retention. Of the many HR executives Portus interviewed, 41% forecasted problems in the near future, if older workers continued to hold onto their jobs.
Over a million employees are aged over 65 – double the figures of a decade ago. But are they really the threat to recruitment some perceive?
Though studies have previously shown older workers remaining in employment as a problem, more recently, experts argue that this is not a fair conclusion. They, instead, blame other factors, such as the financial crisis, as reasons why jobs are scarce for younger workers. They also describe the positives of an older workforce: the skills and experience that can be passed on from old to young, particularly in industries facing skills gaps; greater stability, as an older worker’s family is likely to have grown and childcare is less of an issue; more flexibility, with fewer claims on an older employee’s time.
Some studies have suggested that, by 2020, there won’t be enough youngsters leaving education to fill the vacancies available. Also, the number of migrant workers will, potentially, reduce rather than explode as we leave the EU, leaving the jobs they’d typically fill vacant.
Older workers, it could be argued, represent a solution, not a problem.
Though legislation exists to combat age-related bias, it still occurs – and more so for women. Because there’s no formal way to monitor the application of age discriminatory laws, it remains one of many responsibilities recruiters face, day-to-day. Continuous feedback and involvement throughout the hiring process, and the good relationships they have with their clients, can all serve to help an agency feel confident of their clients’ approach to older workers: an ethos that age is never a reason for a candidate’s rejection.

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