HR & Management

Despite "age-related stereotypes", over 50s are most reliable when it comes to work

4 min read

13 May 2015

Workers aged over 50 "continue to do their part for the economic recovery", with their work ethic and dedication "standing out against younger colleagues" – according to recent research.

More than one million over-50s have been forced to stop working as employers “continue to discriminate” against older workers due to “age-related stereotypes”, The Missing Million report claimed. It suggested that over a million older people have been “pushed out” of the labour market for reasons beyond their control and are now struggling to find employment.

Researchers claimed that older workers are being “failed at every turn” and are finding it harder to both keep their jobs and find suitable employment after job loss.

Once out of work, many then found it difficult to find a new job.

Stephen Howard of Business In The Community said: “The business case for supporting over-50s to stay in work has never been stronger.”

He urged business leaders to consider the “enormous benefit” of hiring older workers with the “ambition, experience and skills” they bring.

This was echoed by James Freeston, sales and marketing director at Axa PP Healthcare, who pointed out that the workforce is ageing “whether businesses like it or not”, and that employers should be making the most of it. 

He said: “Older workers’ loyalty and experience can be an invaluable asset that employers can harness to the benefit of the whole business. Bringing older and younger workers together through the likes of mentoring programmes, for example, can promote knowledge-sharing across the ages.”

Insurance provider RIAS has found that the UK’s older age groups are also “the most reliable” when it comes to work.

Read more about the over 50s:

While 44 per cent of workers aged 20-39 have admitted to lying to their boss and pulling a sickie in the last five years, only 12 per cent of aged over 50 have done the same. In comparison to the 26 per cent of over 50s who took an actual sick day off in the last year, those aged 20-29 have been ill more often at 53 per cent.

Meanwhile, three in ten 20-39 year olds see sick leave as an “additional holiday” that they deserve and are entitled to while only four per cent of those aged over 50 agree.

Over half of those aged 20-39 who took time off work admitted to taking off more time than was necessary. The majority of the over 50s choose to return to work as soon as possible following an illness, with only 12 per cent taking more time than they actually needed.

Peter Corfield, MD at RIAS said: “The added benefit to UK business in employing more mature workers is that if they take less time off sick, businesses will save a small fortune in lost sick days every year.”

The report suggested that one of the reasons the over 50s make for more reliable workers is “perhaps their experience in looking after themselves”. 

Additionally, with people working longer into their retirement and the State Pension Age continuing to rise, older workers are keen to hold onto their jobs for longer and, to make the best impression, may take less sick days.

Image: Shutterstock