Over-50s Brits considering retiring early due to lack of technology skills, research warns | Politics | News

December 7, 2023
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Gary Eimerman, Chief Learning Officer at Multiverse

Eimerman: “Too many are anxious about how the pace of change is impacting their work” (Image: Multiverse )

The increase in people over fifty leaving the job market is one of the great unresolved dilemmas of our age. While many opt for early retirement because they are in a strong financial position or because they want to spend more time with family, others are forced to leave jobs they enjoy because of health concerns or because they struggle to keep up with the skills needed in the modern workplace.

The official figures are stark. From the beginning of the pandemic until early 2023, there are 630,000 fewer over 50s in the labour market, with economic inactivity among 50 to 64-year-olds increasing by nearly 10%. While the rate of economic inactivity in the UK has been dropping steadily since 1986, this trend has reversed for the over 50s since 2020.

Frankly, the issues affecting these workers are being overlooked. Employees from this generation are widely perceived to have benefited from generous pension schemes, rising house prices, and free university education. But this ‘ok boomer’ mentality hides the reality of what so many of these workers are experiencing, and the complex, nuanced circumstances they face – not to mention the major challenges it’s causing to businesses and society.

The exodus of workers over 50 means decades of experience lost from companies and less tax revenue. It hits productivity and the impact companies can have as industries are being disrupted left and right. It also means less money for public services and means more people relying on smaller pension pots and state support. Keeping more over 50s in jobs for longer is therefore beneficial to individuals, businesses and government.

The latest research from Multiverse shows that while many over 50s cannot be stopped from leaving the working world early, hundreds of thousands can.

One area causing many to leave their jobs early is the digital transformation of the workplace. Too many are anxious about how the pace of change is impacting their work.

Significant numbers feel they are deprioritised compared to their younger colleagues when it comes to training and development.

A majority say the formal education they experienced at the start of their career hasn’t been enough to stand them in good stead for the pace of change they are now experiencing.
Four in every ten employees over the age of 50 say they would be willing to stay in their current job if their employer offered them the opportunity to train, develop and learn new skills. And a third who have already taken early retirement say that this is what could tempt them to rejoin a company.

This is the lever available to business leaders and policymakers: offering up-to-date, funded training to people in their 50s and 60s could enable us to transition the great retirement to the great unretirement, and reap the significant rewards that could bring. Not only can this decrease recruiting and turnover costs, it can become a strategic advantage for competing for the best talent.

The latest data shows 450,000 people could be persuaded to stay in the working world. For companies, for individuals, and for society, the potential benefit of keeping them in work cannot be ignored.

Gary Eimerman is the Chief Learning Officer at Multiverse.



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