11 September 2014

Allowing people to work past the traditional retirement age can have advantages for them and for their employers but what if they are physically no longer capable of handling the demands of their role?

That was a question raised by MetLife UK to 214 HR directors across a nationally representative sample of companies.

More than half expect a rise in older workers at their firm and they estimate that nearly one in three employees could not carry out their current jobs if they work on into their late 60s.

32% of those questioned say their workplace has a positive attitude to older workers, 54% say their company is neutral on the issue, and 12% admit that people have a negative attitude to older workers in their workplace.

Absences and job-blocking are among the reasons cited, although only 10% believe older workers will take more time off and just 6% claim that the rise in older workers will make career progression and recruitment more difficult.

MetLife's Employee Benefits Director, Tom Gaynor, 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.”

From Paul Clarke, business writer for Croner.