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Older People and Employment in Scotland

Older People and Employment in Scotland

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ISBN: 9781788511643

Interviews with a mixed group of older people (aged 50+) in central Scotland as well as focus groups with a diverse range of Scottish employers were carried out to examine attitudes and practices surrounding an older workforce.

Executive Summary

The purpose of this research was to collect evidence from older people and employers in Scotland to improve our understanding of issues surrounding an older workforce and help us shape the evidence base for developing employability policies for older people in the future.

The main findings from the interviews with 44 older people (aged 50 to 75) participants suggest that:

• Many older people wanted to work part-time but lacked awareness of flexible working options.

• Older people felt work could be good for mental wellbeing but physical health problems could be a barrier to working longer.

• Women’s caring responsibilities affected their past and present employment and presented a potential barrier to working longer.

• Many older people feared that they might be age discriminated against if they left their current employer to look for a new job.

The main findings from focus groups and telephone interviews with 21 Scottish Employers suggest that:

• Employers were concerned about being viewed as ageist if adopted older worker oriented practices. They were also concerned about a perceived increased likelihood of ill health amongst older workers.

• Employers have mainly focussed on retaining existing older workers for longer rather than recruiting new older workers or (re)training employees to engage in longer working lives.

A range of actions were identified by older people to address their needs when seeking to extend their working lives. Actions were also identified for employers to foster a supportive environment for older workers. Employers and older people also identified a range of actions that they thought the Scottish Government could take forward.