Workers over 50 being ‘singled out for the sack’

UK jobs: Most 'will be taken over by machines' says Lord Rees

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Overall, 11 percent of employees aged 50-plus have disappeared permanently from the workforce in the past five years, according to research. And nearly two thirds (62 percent) say their age meant they were singled out by bosses for the sack. The findings have serious consequences for retirement savings. Those losing their jobs save £29,000 less into their pension pot, according to the Working Late study by Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. It questioned 2,000 people.

Diana Gaglio, 53, knows how hard it is to be over 50 and looking for work. Despite her skills and experience, she has been forced to take on a series of poorly paid temping jobs that offer no security.

Last week she lost one job after alerting her line manager to the fact that she would struggle to do heavy lifting because of a minor back injury.

“The job description as a Covid tester did not state lifting heavy boxes on a daily basis. When I made my line manager aware that I had to be careful because of my back, I was told the following week that I wasn’t needed any more.”

Diana, who lives in Bedfordshire, spent 14 years working as an entertainment manager for a holiday company before the pandemic struck. She said younger recruiters can be suspicious of older job applicants. “Many wrongly think they are inflexible and difficult to manage. They find us threatening.”

Diana also blames electronic CVs: “It’s totally impersonal. No human sees you or judges your skills. But I’ve still got 15 years of work left in me. I can’t stop now.”

Between 2007 to the first half of this year, the average rate of redundancy among the over 50s was 17 percent higher than for the under 50s.

The latest redundancy data – from the summer when the furlough scheme was still in place – shows higher redundancies among older workers. Between June and August, 37,000 over 50s lost their jobs with numbers likely to rise since furlough ended on September 30.

Stuart Lewis, founder of over 50s recruitment specialists Rest Less, said: “We know that once unemployed, workers over the age of 50 are significantly more likely to be in long-term unemployment, or to fall out of the workplace entirely, than their younger counterparts.

“Discrimination is all too common in the recruitment process with many experienced candidates simply being told they are over-qualified.”

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Comment by David Sinclair

There are more than nine million workers in the UK aged 50 and over.

But more and more are being pushed out of work.

The 20,000 that leave the workforce each year are not just empty driving seats and chairs in offices. They represent a loss of experience and talent.

To come out of the pandemic it’s vital we better use the skills and talents of older and younger people.

We at ILC-UK are leading an innovation competition to identify and award the most promising solutions that will help government, employers and individuals adapt to longer working lives.

Workplaces also need support to adapt to more older workers.

As people live and work for longer, employers are going to have to be innovative and think about how to foster health and wellbeing, flexibility, skills and create a workplace that is suitable for the future of an ageing workforce.

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