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Failure to prioritise ageing workforce ‘harming productivity’

Consequences could be damaging for generations to come, warns Aviva

The failure by businesses to prioritise an ageing workforce is hitting productivity, Aviva has argued.

It comes after official figures revealed UK productivity (output per hour) rose by just 0.1% in July to September 2019 compared with the same quarter in the previous year.

This continues the trend of flatlining productivity since the financial crisis of 2008.

Prior to 2008, the historical long-term average productivity growth rate was 2% per annum.

Meanwhile, Aviva research suggests only one in five employers believe that responding to an ageing workforce is a key cause of concern for the future, whereas four in five do not.

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, warned that this lack of planning and prioritisation is hitting wages, economic growth and productivity, and that the consequences could be damaging for generations to come.

“Workers drive productivity, but as the age-profile of the UK’s workers is changing rapidly our workforce is moving into unchartered waters,” he said.

Over the past decade, the total number of people in work has increased by 3.7 million and two thirds of these have been registered in the 50-plus age group. As a result, there are now a record 10.5 million people in work over the age of 50.

“By failing to invest in all our people and support older workers, we are failing them and the wellbeing of the economy,” McQueen argued. “A key to unlocking the UK’s productivity puzzle is held by our workers over the age of 50.”