Back to Blogs

Over 55s – the great debate on this untapped talent pool

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 months ago
  • Author: James Kenealey
While businesses have spent years trying to perfect their ED&I strategy to bring people of all genders, ethnicities and abilities into the workforce, new research demonstrates one major demographic may have been absent from the conversation.

APSCo OutSource Strategic Partner, 55/Redefined, has issued a new report to market which reveals there are hordes of people over the age of 55 exiting the workforce earlier than they feel ready to, because they don’t feel there are enough opportunities available to them.

The figures show that the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by more than 40 per cent in the next 20 years but that by 2050, the working age population will have actually shrunk by between 21-28 per cent, creating a shortfall of more than 50 million workers. That’s despite people aged between 55 and 75 saying that, on average, they feel between 18 and 20 years younger than their age, and 45 per cent of people aged 55 and over saying they don’t believe they can afford to retire at 65.

The longer this disconnect continues to manifest, the more likely we are to see ageism become a major downfall in ED&I strategies currently in place in businesses around the world, and – worse still – the skills shortage emerging in young people will be mirrored at the top of the age scale.

Our role as outsourced recruiters is to educate the market on the ways in which older workers still provide enormous value to businesses looking to fill vacancies, and advise on the strategies they can implement to ensure they’re not missing out on a wealth of eager, relevant talent.

Shut out

The data from 55/Redefined shows:

  • 56 per cent of employees want to continue to work beyond the age of 65, but 65 per cent of employers encourage retirement at the legal retirement age or before

  • 65 per cent of people think no point applying for jobs after 55, assuming the jobs market is closed off to them

  • Employers said health and illness (37 per cent) and lack of energy (21 per cent), would put them off hiring an over 55…

  • …despite over 55s proving to be 200 per cent less likely to take a day off sick

Legislation brought in several years ago to anonymise dates of birth on CVs and job applications makes it harder to specifically target an older demographic and turn these stats on their head. As a result, great talent is being missed when companies are hiring en mass.

Instead, we should start to look at behavioural based criteria and psychometrics to remove the bias around qualifications and tenure, to better facilitate people to switch between industries, and enable people without a career at all – such as mums who gave up their careers to raise children – to get a job in a field they’re passionate about.

Bringing in older workers also presents an opportunity to inspire a less experienced workforce and identify future leadership potential. People who’ve spent many years in business know what makes a loyal, reliable employee and they’ll be able to spot it quickly if given the chance to mentor younger people.

Read the full article over at the Morson Group website and find out how we’ve helped our clients navigate the challenges of talent acquisition for over 50 years.