UK labour pool bolstered by 50-plus workers

The number of older workers in paid employment has hit a record high, according to government figures.

Engineer working
The latest figures show that the number of people between the ages of 50 and 64 who are regularly employed rose by 50,000 in the last quarter, taking the figure to 8.2 million.There are 235,000 more people in this age bracket working than a year ago."Record numbers of older people are bringing their skills, talents and experience into the UK workplace, which is good news for people's incomes, their future pensions, and the overall economy," said Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann."But with 735,000 vacancies in the economy today, businesses are still not making the most of the opportunities that this huge pool of talent has to offer."Older workers are even more crucial for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions, where gaps in the talent pipeline can often make older candidates, with years of experience, highly sought after.For more on older workers and the STEM skills gap, see Re:locate's summer issue feature, Bridging the stem skills gap."As part of our one nation approach, this government wants to see employers do even more to eradicate outdated misconceptions and age discrimination, so that employers realise the benefits when they retain, retrain and recruit staff who are over the age of 50," said Baroness Altmann.The government pointed to initiatives such as the coalition's 2011 abolition of compulsory retirement and the introduction of older workers' champions in Jobcentre Plus offices as evidence of its efforts to keep older people in work.The government says it is also trialling new back to work support initiatives for over-45s, including work experience and training opportunities.Britain has an ageing population and is expected to have 3.7 million more people between 50 and state pension age by 2022. By the same year, it's expected that there will be 700,000 fewer people aged between 16 and 49.For more news and articles like this, see Re:locate's Human Resources and Enterprise sections.

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