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Employees fear ill-health will prevent working beyond age 65

A quarter think their boss views older workers as a ‘hassle’

Nearly three quarters (71%) of employees plan to work beyond the age of 65, but 41% of these are concerned their health will make it difficult to do so, a survey shows.

The research from Canada Life Group Insurance also found 27% of UK employees think their boss views older workers as a hassle because of these possible health struggles.

Employees also believe their boss perceives older workers as stuck in their ways (30%) and technologically inept (30%).

Among the biggest concerns of those intending to work beyond the age of 65 is that they will be treated differently because their boss or colleagues perceive them as being old.

However, three in 10 (28%) UK workers believe that a mix of older and younger workers is desirable because it creates a wider range of skills in the workforce.

Meanwhile, two in five said their employer values the experience (43%) and loyalty (40%) of older workers. Among survey respondents aged 55 and above, almost two thirds (62%) have been with their employer for 10 years or more.

The survey also suggests some employers could lose out on retaining valuable older workers because they do not do enough to support employee health. 

Among the 14% planning to switch jobs when working beyond the age of 65, a fifth said it is because their current job is either too physically demanding (22%) or too stressful (20%).

The research suggests flexible working (32%) and appropriate workplace benefits (16%) are the best ways to attract and support older workers. 

Employees planning to work beyond 65 indicated that income protection (17%) and life insurance (16%) would be the most highly valued benefits, while one in 10 value critical illness cover (13%) or an employee assistance programme (10%). 

Paul Avis, marketing director of Canada Life Group Insurance, said older workers are an invaluable component of the UK workforce given their extensive industry knowledge and expertise. 

“They also represent a valuable talent pool for employers as Britain struggles to counter a growing skills shortage,” he added. “It’s an unfortunate fact of life that health concerns tend to become more frequent as we age, and will become more common in the workforce as we live and work for longer.”

Avis said workers over the age of 65 have a more immediate need for employee benefits that provide both financial and emotional support should they become ill or suffer an injury.