Older workers 'excellent role models'
Published on 30 January 2014 02:00 PM
A majority of workers think having an older colleague in their team is likely to have a positive impact on their workplace, a new survey reveals.
And the poll, conducted by Nationwide, found that almost nine out of 10 (88%) people think workers aged 60 or over can be excellent role models or mentors to colleagues who are in their 20s or 30s.
But the benefits can flow both ways, the survey found, with 78% saying they thought it was important for younger workers to help older colleagues get to grips with new technology at work.
Some 71%, meanwhile, thought new gadgets like smartphones and tablets helped older workers keep up with their younger colleagues.
Those over 55 were ‘less likely' to have time off work
More than two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed thought older workers had a positive effect on workplaces.
The survey also found that those over 55 were less likely than younger ones to have time off work due to sickness or a hangover. Nearly half those aged 55 and over took no sick leave last year and the majority normally arrive at work early, the study found.
But the research also highlighted people's concerns about their future financial health.
Only 3% of workers polled said they expected to retire at 55
Two-fifths (41%) told researchers they didn't think they'd be financially secure in retirement, while 74% said they were concerned that their pension would not be enough on its own for them to continue spending as much as they did now.
And only 3% of the workers polled said they thought they'd be able to retire at 55, with 14% fearing they won't be able to stop working until they reach 70.
More than one in six (16%) of Nationwide's 17,000 employees are over 50 with 2% of them 60 or older.
Its group director, Alison Robb, said: 'As far as Nationwide is concerned, employing older workers is a good business decision - they tend to be experienced, conscientious and hardworking. The decision should always be whether that person can do the job and has the right values.
'Having a diverse workforce which reflects our customer base makes sound commercial sense.'
Older workers ‘written off as a burden'
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says:
‘It's essential that older people get the best value for their retirement savings, or we risk seeing growing numbers of pensioners struggling to make ends meet and future generations will see little reason to put money aside for their later life.
‘With people living longer it's more important than ever that people plan ahead for their retirement and save as much as they can as soon as they can, so they can better enjoy their later life
‘Many retirees have a wealth of experience and skills which can contribute significantly to businesses and the UK economy. Too often older workers are written off as a burden when in fact their commitment, productivity, skills and expertise make them an invaluable boon to business and the UK economy.
It's time we 'appreciated the value of this untapped potential'
‘There are over a million people working past state pension age. Although some will be doing so out of financial necessity many others want to work for longer because they are in good health and enjoy what they are doing.
‘Nearly half of all unemployed older workers have been out of work for more than a year. It's time the UK finally appreciated the value of this untapped potential'
Copyright Press Association 2014