One in ten employers introduce support for retaining over 50s

A new report by Aviva – one of the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth, and Retirement businesses – has found one in ten (10%) employers surveyed have in the last year introduced support for retaining employees aged over 50 years old (1). This type of support could include apprenticeship programmes, mid-life MOTs, job-sharing, and opportunities for ‘part-tirement’ – semi or partial retirement.

Aviva’s Working Lives Report 2023: Fit for Future which launched this month found over three-quarters (76%) of employers think it is important to retain employees aged over 50, with almost a third (32%) of those saying it is very important.

Debbie Bullock, Head of Wellbeing at Aviva said, “Employees over 50 can be a valuable asset to an organisation, bringing a breadth of experience and skills. It is important they are supported by employers in a way that recognises their individual needs.

“Improving retention rates can be supported by apprenticeship programmes, which offer an opportunity to re-skill, and mid-life MOTs, which are a free check-up of your wealth, work, and wellbeing. It is also worth considering options for job-sharing, ‘part-tirement’, and seasonal working to cover peak times.”

In the 2023 Spring Budget, the government announced a ‘Back to work Budget’ which included £70 million investment in support for over-50s staying in or getting back to work.(2)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) did a study into 50 to 65 year olds who left or lost their job since the start of the pandemic and would now consider returning to work. The most important factors when choosing a paid job were flexible working hours (32%), good pay (23%), and being able to work from home (12%).(3)

The ONS also found that over 50s with a physical or mental health condition or illness who would consider returning to work, would do so for the money (67%), and second to that, for the social company or a job they would enjoy (46%).(4)

Debbie Bullock said, “It is commonly felt that careers should follow a linear upward trajectory, moving up the ranks with age. However, it seems some older workers also value flexibility, the social company, enjoyment, and general wellbeing that comes with a job, rather than fulfilling promotion aspirations.

“It is time to break down the taboo that career success necessarily means promotion, especially in later working lives. Employers have a role in encouraging their people to use their skills in less pressurised roles and jobs they enjoy. Apprenticeships are not just for the young and are another way to reskill older workers into alternative roles.

“Staying in work and coming back to work has some clear benefits for older workers besides the financial security, which they appear to recognise. The social aspect of work and the act of going to work can contribute to improved mental and physical health. Aside from the positive implications for individuals, it has potential benefits for society and the economy.”

In recent years, there have been some big step changes in employers introducing other types of policies for their people which recognise individuals and the support they might need to thrive in the workplace.

Aviva’s Working Lives Report 2023 found that in the last year, around one in ten employers have for the first time introduced other new initiatives to support their people. These include support for:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) (9%)
  • Retaining over 50s employees (10%)
  • Menopause symptoms (6%)
  • LGBTIQ+ employees (7%)
  • Neurodiverse employees (7%)
  • Employees experiencing fertility issues (5%)

Debbie Bullock said, “Providing support for a diverse range of wellbeing needs is not just the right thing to do, it also makes sound commercial sense. When people feel supported by their employer, it helps to alleviate the pressure they might be under and allows them to be their authentic selves when coming into work. This in turn improves morale and motivation, which in turn improves productivity and performance.”


(1) Aviva Working Lives Report 2023: Fit for Future |

(2) | Mar 2023 | ‘Back to work Budget’ supporting people to return to the labour market

(3) Office for National Statistics (ONS) | Sept 2022 | Reasons for workers aged over 50 years leaving employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic: wave 2

(4) Office for National Statistics (ONS) | Dec 2022 | Returning to the workplace – the motivations and barriers for people aged 50 years and over, Great Britain: August 2022

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