Press release:

Employers shying away from hiring the over-50s despite labour crunch

Sunday 15 January 2023

A new report from the Chartered Management Institute found that employers are significantly less open to hiring older workers than bringing in younger talent.

The survey of more than 1,000 managers working in UK businesses and public services found that three quarters (74%) are open to hiring younger workers between the ages of 18 and 34 to a large extent. But that number drops to just four out of 10 (42%) of managers who signalled they would be open to hiring people aged between 50 and 64 to a large extent. For those aged between 34 and 49, slightly more than six out of 10 were open to hiring them.

For those over 65, the number drops even further, with only 3 in 10 being open to a large extent to hiring those close to state retirement age or older and 1 in 5 said their organisation was not open to the idea of hiring those over 65 at all.

The reluctance to take on older workers runs across large and smaller employers.

The findings reflect an ongoing ‘say do gap’ in UK workplaces with firms saying one thing when it comes to being an inclusive workplace, but doing another in practice, despite ongoing challenges in filling vacancies across the workforce. There are 1.2 million job vacancies in the UK at present and the number of inactive workers has risen to 630,000,  having increased sharply since the start of the pandemic.

A quarter of managers surveyed said their employer needs to improve working conditions to accommodate older workers, including offering flexible working options and one in five said their organisation needed to improve the investment in support such as suitable health care and targeted training. In recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), one of the reasons cited by those who have become inactive since the start of the pandemic is feeling discouraged.

Anthony Painter, Policy Director at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said:

With vacancy rates still running high for so many businesses, it is clear that there is a valuable pool of talented, experienced workers out there. It’s up to employers to revisit their attitudes towards older workers and consider the training their managers might need in how to support older workers.

Targeted training for new team members who are older can overcome skills gaps, and give older workers added confidence if they are returning to the workforce after time away for caring responsibilities, health issues or because they grew discouraged or felt unsupported in their past roles.


- Ends -

Media contact:

Notes to editors

This Chartered Management Institute (CMI) poll was conducted between 27th October and 1st November, 2022.

A total of 1,153 managers took part in the poll.