News Older Workers Could Plug Skills Gap

With Skills shortages anticipated to become a major problem for UK firms over the next decade, new research shows that older workers could help to plug the skills gaps in the employment market.

According to Executives Online, skills shortages in the industry could be averted by taking on more mature workers.

And with results from the 2013 skills audit from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) indicating that the construction industry is still suffering from skills shortages – this could well be a solution to an ongoing problem.

82% of construction professionals, who took part in the CIOB’s study, highlighted the lack of skilled domestic construction personnel as being a real issue for the industry.

The report highlights the need to attract new talent and incentive careers in construction.

Joint managing director at Executives Online James O’Brien said that a large number of older workers were willing to take on new jobs and boost their career development prospects.

“With government records showing that by 2020, 36 per cent of the working population will be over 50, it stands to reason that older, more experienced professionals will become more widespread within the employment landscape,” he said.

The news comes, as latest government figures show that the number of people aged between 50 and 64 in employment in the UK has increased by nearly 2 million over the past 15 years.

Latest statistics show an extra 54,000 workers in this age group were in jobs during the last quarter, boosting the total number of 50 to 64 year-olds in work to almost 7.7 million.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb is now calling for firms to “embrace our ageing population and the wealth of skills and experience older workers bring to business.”

He said: “While things are improving, more still needs to be done to hire and retain older workers.”

Adding: “Employers who ignore the talent pool on offer amongst the over-50s are likely to suffer skills shortages and lose a key competitive edge.”

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