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Pensions Crisis Looms for Older Jobseekers
Hundreds of thousands of older jobseekers would be saving into an occupational pension if only they could find a job, according to Age Concern. The charity is calling on the Government to act urgently to help older jobseekers back into work so they can boost their quality of life and make essential retirement savings.
The warning comes as Age Concern launches its new report ‘Not ready for the scrapheap: looking for work after 50'. New research published in the report shows that a lack of access to meaningful training, ageist attitudes, and not enough realistic advice and support, are just some of the reasons why almost a million over-50s who want to work cannot find a job.
Many older people cited financial difficulties in later life as a major motivation for wanting to find work, with some needing extra cash to pay basic bills and others desperate to build up their pension before retirement or meet other financial commitments. The research was conducted through a series of focus groups at Age Concern employment projects across the country. The participants, all in their 50s and 60s, expressed strong views about the barriers preventing them from re-entering the workforce.
Some participants highlighted gaps in their experience, training and skills as a factor in their lack of success in finding work: "People have qualifications, different types of certificates which you need nowadays for work, and until you're actually made redundant you don't realise that you need all of these qualifications.”
"My course will only take a few months… but [the Government] won't fund it. Yet they'll send me on a course to learn how to get a job, how to speak to people, how to go to interviews, how to shoot paintballing… but they will not pay for practical job costs. It's a disgrace really. We are capable of putting money back into the country… so why doesn't the Government cater for us?”
Many of the jobseekers reported blatant age discrimination when applying for work: I decided I'll phone up the head of the training organisation … ‘Well how old are you?' '59.' ‘Oh you're much too old.' So that was it. Done. End of story.” Some described the limits placed upon them by conditions such as diabetes or the effects of workplace injuries, and their fear that they would find it difficult to find an appropriate job.
The charity is calling on the Government to give older people the opportunities and support they need to continue working into their 60s and beyond. The economic case is strong: by 2021, the number of workers aged 16-49 is expected to drop by a million, yet there will be one and a half million more people aged 50-69. The current under-employment of over 50s is costing the UK economy around £30 billion every year and this is set to get worse unless the Government acts quickly.
REHACARE.de; Source: Age Concern