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Businesses should accept age is just a number

Shropshire businesses are being urged to embrace the rising number of people who want to remain in work beyond their scheduled retirement age.

There are now 1.1 million people working beyond the age of 65 - more than double the figure in 2001.  Keith Higgins, Dyke Yaxley's HR Development Manager says: "There are now more than 9.4 million people age 50 and above who are working in the UK, compared with just 5.7 million in 1996.

"It is clear that people are no longer looking to slow down after the age of 50 to contemplate retirement, so it is important that businesses find ways of accommodating them.

"The Government's new older workers' champion, Andy Briggs, raised an important issue recently.  As our population continues to grow older, many elderly people are finding themselves caring for frail relatives.

"These people want to keep on working, but many are being forced out of work because their employers will not allow them flexible hours, or part-time contracts."

Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that the percentage of women aged 55-59 in employment is approaching 70%.

And nearly 60% of men are still working between the ages of 60 and 65 - a rise of 13% since 1996.

Keith says: "All the evidence points to the fact that working into your seventies will become increasingly normal, as life expectancy edges into the nineties, so it's important for companies to address what is going to become an increasingly frequent issue.

"If your company doesn't already have an older worker with carer's responsibilities, it won't be long before that changes.

"The skills and expertise which older people can bring into a workplace cannot be underestimated.  So if people want to continue working in their later years, businesses would be crazy not to gear themselves up to accommodate it."

Dyke Yaxley's HR Development Manager, Keith Higgins