The Great Retirement

Stacey Clark
June 1 2023
The Great Retirement – how to build a more inclusive labour market
It has been widely reported that there has been a significant increase in the number of workers exiting the labour market before reaching pension age, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic – often referred to as The Great Retirement. This is partly due to an increase in people leaving due to ill health post-COVID, but also due to older workers feeling that they lack the skills required by employers.
The Office for National Statistics reports that “One major trend for older people has been the increase in economic inactivity – those who are neither working nor actively seeking work (and so do not count as unemployed).” Interestingly, this trend has emerged alongside a period of record high job vacancies, which in an already tight labour market, has caused challenges for recruitment businesses and hiring companies alike.
So how to combat this and entice older workers back into work?
Significant changes are needed in the workplace to ensure that older workers have the skills required of them, and that in turn jobs and workplaces meet the needs of an ageing workforce. This could be achieved by ensuring that older workers are offered a mid-life career and skills review, including access to funded retraining, and offered tailored support for those at potential risk of falling out of the labour market.
Additionally, better systems need to be put in place to help older workers who suffer with ill health or disabilities manage these additional needs. By putting reasonable adjustments in place, it will help tackle workplace discrimination, and strengthen flexible working rights to allow older workers the freedom to work remotely or in places that greater accommodate their needs.
For those older workers who have left with no plan to return, reforming the state pension and benefits system would allow people of any age to maintain a decent standard of living and directly tackle issues that are of significant impact to the older generation: such as allowing certain people early state pension access, ensuring that those workers unable to continue working into their sixties aren’t directly penalised for it.
Regardless, our aim is to work towards an inclusive labour market for all – let’s start today.


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