Population Matters

Help over-50s keep working

Help over-50s keep working

People worldwide are generally living much longer than members of previous generations as a result of better nutrition and improved healthcare. This, together with decreasing birth rates, has resulted in an ageing population profile in developed and many developing countries. This ageing profile in turn has led to concerns over societies’ ability to maintain pensions and care for the growing numbers of elderly.

Elderly man working

Many expect that in time longevity will cease to increase and the decrease in birth rates will end, but until those things happen societies must make adjustments to accommodate the changing demographics. If people are living longer and healthier lives, they can continue to work beyond the current typical retirement age. Many jobs can be done by older employees — retaining them would enable them to continue to contribute to their pensions. In addition, older people can receive training to care for the infirm elderly — this would help to meet that need.

Pushing older people out of employment because they have reached a certain age simply is unfair. Challenging this practice is important. The United Kingdom Equality Act 2010, which makes discriminating against employees, job seekers and trainees on grounds of age unlawful, is a step in the right direction. Changing attitudes of employers and in general also is necessary.

The United Kingdom government is developing a plan to help older people continue working. Under this initiative, unemployed over-50s would be offered career reviews, curriculum vitae and interview training and assistance to use computers, the Internet and social media.

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