The advent of the 70 year old tax senior ?
With the new Age Discrimination legislation coming into force in the UK next month, HR Directors worry about the impact of an older workforce.
Half of all HR managers and directors interviewed believed that the major drawback to employing people over the normal retirement age was increased sickness, an older work force being slower (16 per cent) and more expensive (12 percent), according to research from BUPA. Employers also believed that they were less adaptable, had obsolete skills and were less keen to progress.
Two thirds of HR directors and managers believe that people should retire at 65 years old, despite the new Age Discrimination legislation which is introduced on 1st October placing a duty on employers to consider requests to work beyond this point. However, over half (58 percent) predict that the retirement age will rise to 66-70 years by 2026.
Meanwhile, when the general public were asked for their views on retirement, three-quarters said that no-one should be stopped from working no matter how old they are, over two-thirds said they would be willing to work until they were 70 if they could do a less demanding job and just under half stated they would work if they knew that everybody else their age was also working.
The main benefits, they said, for working longer were money (29 percent), mental stimulation (23 percent), and keeping young and feeling useful to society, however 26 percent saw no benefit in working over the normal retirement age.
The study from BUPA, commissioned for the annual Health Debate which brings together key influencers in a discussion on health issues, also reveals that HR directors and managers think that employers will need to consider several changes to cater for an ageing workforce. A quarter of bosses believe that they will need to introduce more flexible working hours, while 21 per cent feel they will have to introduce different health benefits, and one in ten state that there should be physical changes to the workforce and that different extra-curriculum activities should be offered.
Ann Greenwood, director of business markets for BUPA, said: “This research confirms what companies have been telling us for some time, although we were surprised that employers thought people should retire at 65 despite the new legislation. Employers should put appropriate plans in place to deal with an ageing workforce – getting it wrong could cost. Getting the right advice, however, is vital. A good place to start would be looking at your existing employee benefits and checking they comply in areas such as age related eligibility, length of service and the structure of any benefits scheme.”