A recent study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that older workers are likely to be hardest hit by the end of the furlough scheme.
The study found that at the end of April, over 65s were 40% more likely to be furloughed than those in their 40s. (14% of those over 65 were furloughed compared to 10% for those in their 40s.)
It added that there are a number of reasons why it is more challenging for the older professional, with those in their 50s and 60s having less experience searching for work, and 69% of 55 year-old workers having been with their employers for more than 5 years. Only 4% of older workers typically change employer in a single year.
Further to this, the study also found that older job seekers from lower socio-economic groups, those with lower education, the long-term unemployed and women are less likely to re-enter work at older ages after becoming unemployed.
We are seeing a significant number of older professionals looking for more flexible working patterns. 16% of 50-69 year-olds in employment would like to work fewer hours, thats around 230,000 more people since the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
Emily Andrews, Deputy Director of Evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, which funded the report, said:
“The picture is currently very worrying for older workers furloughed or made redundant during the pandemic. This new research shows that even before the pandemic, only a third of unemployed people in their late 50s returned to work within a year. In a competitive job market, many older workers are likely to struggle to get back into work.
“It’s vital then that in the wake of the crisis, the right support is in place to get over-50s back to work and prevent them falling into long-term unemployment – which would risk seeing many fall out of the workforce for good.”
As we mentioned in our previous article, IMPROVING EMPLOYMENT: HOW IS THE GOVERNMENT HELPING OLDER PROFESSIONALS?, we talk about the lack of support for older generations and how at the end of January over 24% of the unemployed were over 50. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the government has provided a range of support in many forms to businesses and to the young, but it is clear to see that the older professionals have experienced a lack of support and this is unfortunate as we can see from this research and previous research, that having the older experienced professional working alongside the younger generation, provides more innovation, productivity improves and business results are better.
Emily Andrews continues, “Government must make this group a priority, providing tailored support that takes into the needs of the over-50s and the barriers they may face to finding work. In addition, government must send a strong message to employers, job coaches and employment support services that over-50s are just as entitled to support as younger workers.
Laurence O’Brien, a Research Economist at IFS and an author of the report, further contributed saying:
“There are a number of reasons that finding new work after the end of the furlough scheme might be challenging for many older jobseekers. Many older workers do not have much recent experience of looking for a job. Older workers are also less likely than younger workers to change occupation in normal times – and these transitions may become more important as the economy adjusts after the pandemic. It will therefore be important for the government to appropriately support older jobseekers back into the labour market going forwards.”
You can read the full report, Changing Patterns of Work at Older Ages on the Institute for Fiscal Studies here.
How does Xpertd help our Older Professionals?
The loss of our experienced professionals from the workforce is a blow to the already vulnerable economy.
It is essential that we facilitate the meeting of people who hold the necessary skills and experience with the people who need them for their businesses to survive. Through mentoring, networking, volunteering, or project-based work, you can have an impact. We look forward to seeing a stronger response from the government in terms of improving employment opportunities for skilled professionals.
The Xpertd Community is here to help expert professionals get back into work. Our goal is to connect people, help to lower unemployment rates, and make sure that the valued skills and experience of individuals are put to good use. By working directly with small businesses and experienced professionals, we want to build relationships, share knowledge, and promote learning. Join us today to create a community that will make a difference!
For more information, you can also join the Xpertd Facebook Group. There you can meet other skilled professionals and business owners. We look forward to welcoming you as a part of our dedicated community!