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Hidden in plain sight: the Missing Million in the labour market

This number is steadily rising, due to reasons including redundancy, ill health, early retirement and most significantly unconscious bias and discrimination, with age still considered a & lsquo;taboo’ subject in the workplace.

As an ageing population on track for approximately 19 million people over the age of 65 by 2050, Business in the Community held an event in Manchester to address this pressing issue, dispel common myths and bring its & lsquo;Missing Million’ report series to the fore.

Business in the Community’s three part & lsquo;Missing Million’ report series highlights the value of older workers, making recommendations to Government and responsible employers at a time when there is much discussion and growing business engagement in how we can all collectively support longer working lives.

Building on the progress older worker business champion Dr. Ros Altmann has made working tirelessly to promote the fuller working lives message, the report highlights the fact that the first person to live to 150 has already been born and that we cannot continue to write off workers who have so much more to contribute. With State Pension Age (SPA) due to rise to 66 by 2020, as gatekeepers to employment and people’s livelihood, businesses and recruitment agencies have a very significant part to play in bringing forward much-needed change, embracing the exponential benefits of a multi-generational workforce and age diversity. With so many older workers locked out of the labour market, they hold the key to letting them back in.

Business in the Community’s Age at Work campaign shares an aligned vision with the fuller working lives message the time to build a strong, competitive economy that provides support and opportunities for all its members, is now.

Baroness Greengross, chief executive of ILC-UK, comments, “Older people today provide so much to society in a variety of ways, and the knowledge and skills they possess offer a massive potential for the world of work.

“The research that has gone into The Mission Million reports underscores the importance of action in changing the way that older people are able to identify opportunities in the labour market and make successful contributions within the field of work. “Business in the Community has contributed through the development of recommendation that Government and business can consider as they continue to craft solutions to the challenges around an ageing workforce”.

Sharing an ethos of championing employment opportunities for all, social enterprise de Poel Community has been working closely with Business in the Community to promote the longer working lives message to employers and recruitment agencies. Janice Henson, managing director of de Poel Community, comments, “Through this research, Business in the Community and ILC-UK are proving just how simple the process really is to nurture an inter-generational workforce, in a business of any size, in any sector.

“It is about addressing misconceptions, instilling confidence in line managers, consistency in key policies and a nurturing a flexible, supportive workplace, where all workers are provided with training and targeted development opportunities.

“For any organisation – whether you are an SME or large-blue chip, local or UK wide, operating in the private, public or third sector – you can make a huge difference in the recruitment and retention of your older employees. Through the work de Poel Community is doing, we are seeing some inspiring instances of companies that are celebrating the inclusion of older workers, and we can certainly learn from their experiences.”

The launch of & lsquo;The Missing Million’ report series has been supported by events in London and Manchester. The campaign continues in its mission to encourage recruiters and employers to share their success stories and best practice in how to recruit, retain and develop a multi-generational workforce. To see & lsquo;The Missing Million’ reports in full, please visit www.bitc.org.uk/age.

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