Proper skills management of older employees could add 88 billion pounds to the UK’s GDP
Putting in place proper skills management systems and harnessing the skills and experience of more than a million people over the age of 50 that are still ready and willing to work could help British companies add an extra £88 billion to the UK’s GDP, a recent report by PRIME was able to reveal.
The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), part of Business in the Community, was set up by Prince Charles after he received letters from older people desperate to find work. The organization’s recent report, ‘The Missing Million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over-50s’, highlights the fact that there are currently 3.3 million economically inactive people between the age of 50 and 64.
The report published by PRIME also found that up to 1.5 million mature workers involuntarily left the workforce in the last eight years, citing reasons such as redundancy, ill-health or ‘forced’ early retirement, despite around 1.1 million of them still being willing to work.
Implementing proper skills management systems designed to fully leverage the extensive skills sets and experience available within this particular segment of workers would be beneficial because the population overall is ageing, the report suggests. The size of the UK’s workforce is only expected to increase by 4.5 per cent over the next 20 years, compared to an 18.2 per cent rise over the last two decades.
With such slow workforce growth, it will be a challenge to fill job vacancies, it adds. Only 7 million young people are projected to leave school or college over the next ten years, yet there are likely to be 13.5 million job vacancies.
By matching the employment rate in the 50 to 64 age group with that of the 35 to 49 age group, UK productivity could increase by 5.6 per cent, PRIME said.
Ros Altmann, the government’s older workers’ business champion, said: “Older workers could provide a major boost to future growth, whereas continuing to waste their skills and experience is a recipe for economic decline.
“Millions of over-50s are out of the labour force when they need not be. With our ageing population, employers and individuals need to radically rethink retirement and ensure as many as possible stay economically active as long as they want to,” she said.
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