The aim of this report is to look at the implications and management challenges of ageing in the workforce. It is based on a review of research literature to date, a secondary analysis of the Labour Force Survey and case studies, and from which we can outline what the crucial issues will be for individuals, labour markets and organisations.

By 2010, the proportion of the working population aged between 50 and 64 will be greater than at any time since the mid 1970s. This means that the experiences of people in this age group will become relatively more important for overall workforce performance.

Workforce ageing is part of a broader demographic trend, for which the social and economic implications must be understood and considered. For example, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the ratio between people aged 65 and children under 16 will increase from 81:100 in 2003 to 136:100 in 2031.

The response so far from international bodies, the government and employers is tackling only certain areas and is not broad enough to effect cultural and attitudinal change. In the main, the response seems to be focused on helping older people access work and encouraging employers not to discriminate. Outside of legislation, there are even fewer initiatives that encourage employers to retain and retrain older workers, and fewer still that highlight the difficulties for some of maintaining a decent standard of living into older age.

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