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The business case for retaining older workers

The Equality Act 2010 and the repeal of the Default Retirement Age have made it easier for older people to stay working if they want to, with better protection from discrimination.

Perceptions about older workers

However, many employers worry about managing an ageing workforce. In a recent survey from MetLife UK, respondents said a third of their workforce would struggle to do their current job beyond the age of 65.

One in ten believed older workers took more time off and 6 per cent thought their presence would make career progression and recruitment more difficult.

Good business sense

But there's a strong business case for retaining older workers. And it's not just about the advantages of having a diverse workforce, such as reflecting your customer base, widening your talent pool, and transmitting knowledge and expertise from old-hands to new recruits.

The benefits extend into the wider economy. If everyone worked one year longer, GDP could increase by a percentage point, equivalent to £16 billion (2013 figures), according to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

One year's extra work would also boost the average worker's pension pot by £4,500, along with the extra year's salary. Someone retiring 10 years early, on the other hand, could see their pot shrink by a third.

'Work brings the benefits of extra income, higher potential pension later on and more production in the economy which can help create extra jobs in future too. There are also well-recognised benefits to people's health and wider wellbeing when they are working,' the Department for Work and Pensions said.

Acas publications and services

Acas can visit your workplace and raise staff awareness on issues surrounding age, age discrimination and diversity; see Equality and diversity: how Acas can help.

If you have questions about Retirement or need free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue visit Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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