At a time when the UK faces a stagnant economy and large-scale labour shortages, we cannot afford to ignore the value of older workers – the ‘Platinum Pound’. Workers over the age of 50 already make up one third of the UK workforce, and this will continue to grow in the coming years given the country’s ageing population.
Recently, however, many over 50s left work during the pandemic, and because the employment rate of this age group has remained lower ever since, there are around 180,000 fewer people in employment. International comparison shows that the UK is unusual: in most other high-income countries, the employment rate of older workers has increased since the pandemic.
We urgently need to reverse this decline. Our research shows that we need to take a proactive approach to this issue through early intervention. Trying to convince retirees to return to work is unlikely to succeed. Policy makers therefore need to focus on enabling people currently in work to remain in the workforce, rather than chasing after those who have already made the decision to retire.
Although some older people choose to stop working voluntarily, a substantial number leave work before they wish to do so. There are over 800,000 older people who are currently out of work but who want a job. This report therefore proposes a number of policy solutions, including an annual tax-free £1,000 Priority Jobs Bonus – for all workers over 55 working in shortage occupations and earning less than £50,000 a year.
To find out more, read the report in full.