Why older workers may be happier workers

On the day the default retirement age is abolished, a study suggests over-55s are more loyal than their younger counterparts.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 07 Apr 2016
Today is the day the Default Retirement Age is scrapped – which means businesses can no longer get rid of unwanted workers once they hit 65. But although there have been manifold complaints about the new legislation, it could have its upsides. For instance, according to new research by talent consultancy Chiumento, older workers tend to be more loyal: apparently, almost 80% of over-55s say they ‘never’ want to change employers, compared with just 41% of 18-54-year-olds. Though admittedly they may have less choice in the matter...

Admittedly, that second figure is probably skewed by lumping those in their 30s/ 40s/ early 50s in with teenagers and twentysomethings, some of whom like to change their job as often as they change their pants (roughly once a year, then). But there’s no denying that the over-55s are a happier bunch, judging by these figures: apparently, almost 24% of them describe their employer as ‘excellent’, compared to just 13% of younger people. At the other end of the spectrum, just 12% of over-55s gave their current employer a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ rating, compared to almost 18% of the 'youngsters'.

But before employers rush out and start putting job ads on Saga, we should point out that there is a catch. The survey also found that over-55s can be less flexible than younger workers (in more ways than one). According to Chiumento, they resent being told how to do their jobs, preferring instead to find their own way of doing things. And they tend to be more resistant to change. So they might be harder to manage in these respects

Then again, companies may have to find a way around this problem - because figures have shown that by 2020, a third of the workforce will be over 50 and 12% will be over 55. For the sake of UK plc, let's hope old dogs can actually learn new tricks.

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