Silver saviours ready to plug the workplace gaps

Older employee

Government proposals to coax middle-aged retirees back into work to boost the economy may be easily fulfilled according to one company’s research.

Older people who gave up work early could be offered what has been called a “midlife MOT” to assess finances and opportunities for various types of work and follows a recent House of Lords committee finding that a wave of early retirement for professionals aged over 50 since the Covid pandemic has caused a huge labour shortage.

Yet, it has since emerged that substantial numbers of older people are looking to return to employment as their financial plans have been knocked off course by the cost of living crisis.

The most recent employment data reveals the scale of the silver worker exodus with 611,000 more economically inactive and 74,000 fewer economically active over 50s than before the pandemic, according to the retirement specialists Just Group.

They suggest that as many as 522,000 thousand economically inactive 50-64 year olds are now looking for work, including 25,000 who had previously retired.

This comes at a time when businesses are competing for staff in a tight labour market. A separate ONS study discovered that three in 10 businesses with over 10 employees are struggling with gaps in their workforce which is having a significant impact on their operations.

Forty per cent stated they have been unable to meet demands, 13 per dent had paused some trading and nearly a quarter had been forced to recruit temporary staff.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at retirement specialist Just Group, said: “At the start of the pandemic, there was a surge of older workers leaving employment as they took the opportunity to retire or pursue other opportunities.

“But, we are now seeing that trend reverse with ‘The Great Unretirement’ as many of these older workers look to re-join the workforce. This appears to be driven by a number of factors including the rising cost of living which is increasing pressure on household budgets and pension pots.

“With businesses up and down the country facing difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, there is a clear opportunity to harness the experience and talent older workers offer. It’s a tight labour market but there is evidence to suggest greater financial wellness provision could help tip the balance, especially for this older age group who will have first-hand experience of the importance of having a robust financial plan in place for later life.”

The majority also said that they would feel more valued by their employer if they were offered a financial planning service

Research by the retirement specialist Just Group found that increasing financial wellness provision for older staff was important to older workers. Putting in place services and solutions to help older colleagues make financial plans for retirement and feel more confident in their day-to-day personal finances, improved engagement, productivity and happiness among employees.

More than seven in 10 (72%) workers aged 45-65 in businesses with over 10 workers said that getting on top of their finances would make them less stressed and more productive and a third (33%) said they would be motivated to work harder if their employer recommended an online financial planning service to help with their retirement plans.

The majority also said that they would feel more valued by their employer if they were offered a financial planning service.

Lowe added: “As increasing numbers of older workers return to work, employers need to be cognisant of the factors driving this trend: market turbulence, the rising cost of living and uncertainty that their pension savings will last through retirement.

“These “Great Unretirees” will have taken a substantial knock to their confidence when it comes to making significant decisions with their finances. Supporting these workers back into the workplace with a strong financial wellness offering will help them find their feet in the workplace and build up their belief again.”


Pension pandemic that’s putting retirement on hold

End if DB pensions for active members edges closer

How FDs can millennial-proof their organisations