Recruitment

Nearly half of UK’s 50-somethings want to return to work, but ageism remains their biggest barrier

Rebecca Smith | 21 October 2015 | 9 years ago

Barclays has launched an apprenticeship programme without an age cap to encourage older workers to get back into work if they wish
Barclays has launched an apprenticeship programme without an age cap to encourage older workers to get back into work if they wish
Nearly half of the UK’s 50-somethings want to return to work, but worry their age is holding them back when it comes to finding employment again.

New Barclays research has revealed 46 per cent of 1, 000 over 50s had no choice when it came to leaving their last employment, with less than half pointing to voluntary retirement as the reason for them being out of work. Ageism was flagged up as a barrier to work, with a third of those surveyed citing it as the biggest obstacle they faced when trying to get back into employment.

The survey was commissioned by Barclays, which has recently introduced its Bolder Apprenticeships with the aim of helping those over the age of 24 who have been out of work for more than 12 months to re-skill and enter the workplace.

There’s no age cap for the scheme and Mike Thompson, director of apprenticeships at Barclays, said the company had found there are a large number of over 50s who have struggled to get back into the workplace.

whilst we often think of NEETs in the context of youth unemployment we are in fact seeing the older generation dominating this territory, despite their greater maturity and developed soft skills offering employers added benefits, he pointed out.

When it comes to being prepared for employment, the findings also found that 66 per cent of those over 50s out of work believe they have strong transferable skills that could be used across multiple industries. Not a single respondent thought their grasp of technology was a barrier to re-entering the job market.

The research also flagged up the misconceptions and confusion surrounding apprenticeship schemes, with only ten per cent of the over 50s surveyed saying they would know how to get onto an apprenticeship scheme, while a fifth thought businesses would only accept those under the age of 24.

There was positive feeling towards the concept of apprenticeships however, with 72 per cent saying they felt apprenticeships were a great way to re-enter the workplace, and a third considering participating in one themselves.

there are many circumstances that might require an adult to re-skill, and for the older generation working into their sixties and above is increasingly becoming a necessity as well as a desire, Thompson added.

He feels the desire to stay in the workplace is often underestimated? and urged employers to take action to ensure that there is always a way into work, no matter how old you are.

The top reasons why careers were cut short for those over the age of 50 were injury or illness, involuntary redundancy and voluntary redundancy, though some were bored of the work and others hadcaring duties.

The Missing Million report from earlier this year said there were over one million over 50s who have been forced to stop working as employers “continue to discriminate” against older orkers because of “age-related stereotypes”.

Insurance provider RIAS also said its research showed the UK’s older age groups to be “the most reliable” when it came to work only 12 per cent have pulled a sickie in the last five years compared to 44 per cent of those aged 20-39.

Image: Shutterstock

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