older workers

As the well documented skills gap continues to impact British businesses, many are convinced that the answer to this is to tap into the over-50 workforce.
They are more likely to be following the maxim, "Live longer, work longer," but how much work do they actually do? Being "self-employed" may seem preferable to being "retired" and definitely better than "unemployed," even if many of the self-employed are in tiny jobs, working only a few hours a week. In truth, some may be happy with that, but not all are.
One problem is that ageing workers are widely seen as "a burden" with the focus of attention being on their chronological ages rather than their work capacity (or, to use an increasingly recognised concept, their work-ability) which can vary enormously from worker to worker of the same ages.
Age discrimination has been described as the last bastion of prejudice. In 2006 most age discrimination in the workplace was made unlawful. The problem is it carries on regardless.
Certainly, we should celebrate the fact that people are living longer, remaining active and that their activity is contributing to the UK's economy. But it is a mixed picture we see of older workers who are valued and celebrated as success stories on one hand while others despair of the endemic ageism they confront.
The government's common sense decision to scrap the compulsory retirement age in 2011 and let people freely work beyond 65 was one of the most rational legislations ever passed. However there is still a lot of work to do on changing the perception of older workers and employers' attitudes towards them.
Clearly as the Resolution Foundation's study highlights there are challenges for older workers but for businesses that can adapt, I believe there are significant benefits.
In the UK over 3.5 million people between 50-64 are economically inactive... That means one in three people 50+ are out of work compared with one in five people under 50. There has been a 40% rise in unemployment amongst over 50s in the last two years. The recession is hitting everyone hard but I was personally shocked to hear those figures.
One thing that is clear is that unless action is taken now we risk a 'lost generation' of over 50s, unable to find work and consigned to living out their lives with lower living standards than they had hoped.
If the government wants to realise its agenda of extending working lives, it must make working past retirement age a realistic option for people across the labour market. Too many older unemployed are not given the support and training they need to find re-employment - one out of two is long-tem unemployed, higher than for any other age group.