• International Workplace
  • 5 June 2017

UK employers called on to employ more older workers

The Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, Andy Briggs, is calling on UK employers to publicly commit to employing 12% more older workers by 2022 and to publish their workforce data by age.

UK charity Business in the Community, which will publish its data on its website, backs this call to action and has published guidance to support employers to publish this data. Viva, Atos, Barclays, The Co-operative Group, Home Instead Senior Care, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), Mercer, and Boots UK are the first employers to publicly pledge their commitment to meeting this target and have already published their age data.

As Business Champion, Briggs, together with the Business in the Community’s Age at Work Leadership Team, set a UK target in February for employers to recruit one million more older workers by 2022. To ensure the UK stays on track to achieving this target, every UK employer is being urged to:

  • committo collaborating to meet the one million more target and as a starting point to employ 12% more older workers by 2022, and;
  • publishthe number and percentage of older workers in their workforce by the end of 2017.

Publishing workforce data by age will enable tracking of the UK’s progress towards the target, and this transparency will encourage more employers to adapt to and benefit from an older workforce.  

Briggs, who is also CEO of Aviva UK Life, said:

“The UK is facing a colossal skills gap, and older workers are vital to filling it. Businesses can show leadership here, through committing to real change and actively seeking to recruit more over 50s into their organisations. By being open about the progress they are making, they can also lead the way in demonstrating the benefits of having a diverse team of employees that represents all sections of society.

“Aviva is proud to be one of the first employers to publicly commit to 12% more older workers by 2022 and to publish workforce data by age. Currently, around 19% of our workforce is over 50 – and we will improve on this over time.  We hope to exceed rather than just meet the 12% target. Having employees with the life experience and maturity, who can fully relate to our customers, is hugely valuable, and the over 50s are essential to this.    

“Transparency around workforce data is good corporate governance and I hope Aviva’s open approach will encourage more employers to join Commit & Publish and help us in achieving this collective goal.” 

Rachael Saunders, Age at Work Director at Business in the Community, said:

“The UK simply cannot meet its growth and productivity objectives without adapting to retain, recruit and develop people aged over 50. We have an ageing society and it is essential that employers act now to ensure employees can stay in work for longer and to support career changes in later life. We are calling on every UK employer to show their support today by publicly committing to 12% more older workers by 2022 and pledging to publish their workforce data by age by the end of this calendar year.”

Statistics demonstrating an ageing society and workforce include:

  • The average age in the UK is now 40, ten years older that it was in 1974.
  • By 2020, one in three of the working age population will be over 50 and by 2030 half of all adults in the UK will be over 50. 
  • By 2022, 14.5 million more jobs will be created but only seven million younger workers will enter the workforce – leaving 7.5 million roles unfilled. 
  • Age bias means the UK employment rate drops to 64% at aged 60, from 83% at aged 50.


Find out more from Aviva -

Find out what data each of the first eight employers has published as part of their Commit & Publish support here.

Find out more about the target of one million more older workers by 2022 here.