Thursday, March 27, 2014

Northern Ireland: Commissioner for Older People Urges Government and Employers To Increase Older Workers Participation in the Workforce

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland has released a report that shows that the economy in Northern Ireland could be increased by £2.3billion by 2037 if the number of older people in the workforce increases. According to "Valuing an Ageing Workforce," which was produced in conjunction with the International Longevity Centre-UK, the government and employers should introduce ways to enable older people to remain in the workforce for as long as they wish to. The Commissioner, Claire Keatinge, says:
"This shows that older workers can be more effective than their younger colleagues and make a positive contribution in the workplace, despite widely held misconceptions that somehow productivity and output diminish with age.

"Many people will want to stay in work, for a variety of reasons, such as the removal of the previous Default Retirement Age, increase in life expectancy, and for personal fulfillment; and some will stay in work because they need to for financial reasons.

"It is essential that appropriate supports are put in place so as to enable older workers to continue to be able to play a positive role in the workforce."
Among the findings reported by the Commissioner and highlighted in a briefing note to the report are:
  1. Employers would benefit from valuing the positive role that older people play in the workplace.
  2. Employment rates for older people in Northern Ireland have increased since the financial crisis in 2008 and there is a strong economic case for working beyond 65.
  3. There are still a range of barriers which prevent people working longer, including ageist attitudes, health, caring responsibilities, skills and training opportunities, as well as the fact that ‘cliff-edge’ retirement is still a common occurrence here.
  4. Initiatives should be introduced by the Northern Ireland
    Executive and employers to support people to work longer, should they wish to do so.
  5. Older people in Northern Ireland should have the right to remain in work as well as the right to retire, and they should be supported in either scenario.
Source: Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland News Release (March 25, 2014)

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