Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Employers 'concerned about rise in older workers'

Companies estimate nearly one in three could not carry out current jobs past traditional retirement age

  • Companies estimate nearly one in three could not carry out current jobs past traditional retirement age
  • But more than half expect a rise in older workers at their firm, MetLife research shows

Employers estimate up to a third of their staff would struggle to continue in their current jobs past traditional retirement ages, research* for MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

Its nationwide study found HR directors believe on average 31% of their current workforce would not be able to perform their jobs adequately once they reach normal retirement ages even though 54% of them expect an increase in the proportion of older staff.

32% of employers say their workplace has a positive attitude to older workers with 54% saying their company is neutral on the issue.  Just 12% of companies questioned admit people in their workplace have a negative attitude to older workers.

Among concerns cited by HR directors was a rise in absence – 10% believe older workers will take more time off and 6% believe the rise in older workers will make career progression and recruitment more difficult.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK, said: “Employers are on the front line and need to respond positively to the demographic changes we’re starting to see in the workforce.  It’s encouraging that there are mainly positive attitudes but there is still an undercurrent of concern and misguided thinking that could inhibit positive change.  Older workers have a tremendous amount to offer and shouldn’t be seen as a problem but as a solution to many workplace challenges.”

“Insurance products like income protection can help significantly not just in terms of managing absence but also in terms of services and online support for healthy living.”

MetLife Employee Benefits ProActive Protection policy helps employers prevent absence from becoming a major issue and enables employees that do become ill to return to work earlier than they would without the support of the policy’s return to work services.  Its Wellbeing Hub provides employees with a comprehensive and confidential health and wellness programme that health advice as well as counselling services. Employees can generate their own Health Age through the online service and use this as a starting point to make lifestyle changes that they can monitor. 

Employers themselves get the support of Client Relationship Managers with larger schemes benefiting from a dedicated Client Relationship Manager as well as a Claims Specialist. They will proactively engage with employers to understand absences early on and to suggest any early intervention that may accelerate a sustainable return to work.

* Research conducted by Atomik Research among 214 HR directors across a nationally representative sample of companies ranked by number of employees between March 7th and 10th


**8 MetLife’s Brighton office is situated at Invicta House, Trafalgar Place, BN1 4FR