How Older Workers Could be the Answer to Filling the Skills Gap

17th July 2018

On this blog, we recently discussed how employers could be missing out on a potentially huge talent pool by paying too much attention to the negative stigma around maternity leave. Data shows that there is still a bias against women that are pregnant or returning from maternity leave when they are applying for work and as well as mothers, employers could be missing out on the invaluable skills and experience that they can provide.

Discrimination of Older Workers


This has also been shown to be the case with another segment of the employment market: older workers.


Research by the Women and Equalities Committee has found that more than a million people aged over 50 who want to work “are being wasted because of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices.” While it is illegal to discriminate against age, it appears that this has not stopped people succumbing to a culture that leaves older, more experienced workers out of favour.


The Chair of the of the Women and Equalities Commission, Maria Miller, has blamed inflexible employers and claims that the only way to solve the issue is for flexible working to be the default from the time the job is advertised onwards.

Shortfall of Workers

With an ageing population and a predicted shortfall of 7.5 million workers by 2022, the time would seem to be right for employers to start considering how they can change their working practices to open the door to mothers and older workers that are highly experienced but need more flexibility with hours and working arrangements.


And with Brexit on the horizon leading to a predicted drop in the number of workers coming into the country from the EU, the problem of worker shortages could be set to increase even faster than predicted.


Despite the law, it appears that many employers are still turned off by the thought of older workers. But by introducing greater flexibility, which 88% of older workers agreed was a key consideration, employers could find a way to solve skills shortages, fill more positions and make the most of a greater level of experience as a result.

Research by the Women and Equalities Committee has found that more than a million people aged over 50 who want to work “are being wasted because of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices.”