Employers struggling to effectively manage an ageing workforce?

18 August 2016

Research from Group Risk Development (GRiD) shows that 53% of employers have taken no steps to meet the needs of an ageing workforce.

The research was conducted by Lightspeed Research for GRiD and took place in September 2015 among 501 UK businesses with between 5 and 1,000 employees.

Only 7% have refocused their health, wellbeing and absence-management procedures to manage those with age-related conditions, and only 2% continue to provide Group Risk benefits for those aged over 65.

According to the UK Labour Market Bulletin (June 2016) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we have never had greater employment, and 50-64 year-olds now make up 27% of the total workforce. This is to be celebrated with people living and working longer but an ageing workforce can bring its own challenges. Coupled with the removal of the default retirement age, employers have had to consider how best to look after their workforce as a whole and for longer, and the research indicates that some are struggling with how to accommodate the different needs they may have.

However, employers may not be aware that a lot of help is available via Group Risk protection policies (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness). The added-value services that come along with these policies can offer a huge amount of support tailored to the needs of all generations, from vocational rehabilitation services to help people stay in work, help with modifications, right through to help with managing chronic conditions.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD says,

“Group Risk isn’t just there to offer financial support – although that can be a great benefit for many – it can actually offer numerous areas of practical support which are valuable across the board. Different generations can have different needs, and the services offered alongside Group Risk policies are flexible and invaluable for employers looking to create an inclusive and supportive work environment.”

Some employers are clearly embracing the needs of their older workforce. 24% have introduced flexible working initiatives – the most popular step, 11% have introduced job sharing and 10% have modified roles and procedures to accommodate older workers’ needs. So while some employers have been proactive at looking at areas related to the actual job, such as modifying working patterns and training, they have been slower to focus on health & wellbeing initiatives.

Katharine Moxham goes on to say, “Employers are legally obliged to make certain employee benefits available, such as pensions. Other benefits may never be accessed, but Group Risk really is the unsung hero of the employee benefits canon. Employers that are looking to extend their benefits to this demographic would do well to look closely at them and embrace what they can offer.”