Managing an ageing workforce

Employers need to plan for an ageing workforce where absences will be longer and employees may need to change their duties and responsibilities.

What is the state of the UK's workforce?

The UK's population is steadily getting older and the workforce is ageing.

In 2015, the average working age rose beyond 40 for the first time ever.  It is now estimated that around a seventh of the total population will be over 75 by 2040.  By 2021 it is predicted that one in three workers will be over 50.

The cost of absence

One issue among older workers is the cost of absence.

A workforce with a higher than average number of older people often finds that absences tend to stretch over a longer period and staff begin to change or restrict their duties and responsibilities.

Can you have a workplace discussion with an older employee to ask them about their future plans and when they might cease to work in the business?

  • Yes
  • No

Diverse benefits

As people work beyond the traditional retirement age, and the attitudes of their children and grandchildren change, employers are faced with a workforce that is increasingly diverse in its needs, expectations and prevailing attitudes towards work.

With a diverse workforce there is chance to maximise a range of skills and talents, and to keep and retain experience for longer.

Can you make someone retire at 65?

  • Yes
  • No

Age discrimination

Which of the following are examples of age discrimination?

Select two answers.

  • Refusing to employ someone after interview because they are 70.
  • Asking a 67 year old to make a tea round.
  • Not offering training to someone aged 65.
  • Offering training to someone aged 65.

Workplace discussions

According to ACAS: Whatever the age of an employee, discussing their future aims and aspirations can help an employer to identify their training or development needs and provide an opportunity to discuss their future work requirements.

For all employees these discussions may involve the question of where they see themselves in the next few years and how they view their contribution to the organisation.

Have you thought about including in your appraisal procedure questions about an employee's short, medium and long terms goals and plans?

Flexible solutions

What do you consider to be age related adjustments that you could make in your organisation?

Which three of the below do you consider to be reasonable changes that an organisation can make?

  • Part time/reduced hours
  • Increased lighting
  • Moving all older people to sit together
  • Providing larger computer screens

For both millennials seeking more control over their working hours, and older workers, whose time needs to be carefully managed to support their extended career, there are many advantages to a more flexible approach.

Poor performance

Is dismissing an employee of 67 for poor performance age discrimination?

  • Yes
  • No

If an employee's performance is not satisfactory, the employer should raise this with them in the normal way, regardless of their age.


By planning for the ageing workforce and being aware of the benefits of diversity as well as the risks of discrimination claims, this course will assist with your organisation's strategy moving forward.

Thank you for completing the course.

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