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Older people ceasing work earlier due to COVID Older workers have been exiting the workforce earlier since March 2020, according to new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) analysis.
Its new report focusing on workers over 50 found being sick, injured or disabled was the main reason why employees le the workforce, with retirement following closely behind.
In 2020, the average age of exit for men was 65.3 years and women 64.3, decreasing by 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points respectively in 2021. The employment rate of people aged between 50 and 64 years old has also fallen slightly 72.1% in 2020 to 71.2% in 2021. There has been little change in the employment rate of people aged 35 to 49, creating an employment rate gap between the two age groups of 13.9%.
Sarah Loates, director at Loates HR Consultancy, said the figures were a warning to employers.
She said: “Older employees are a goldmine of skills, pragmatism and lived experience, all of which contributes to team diversity and productivity.
“It’s important that employers focus on knowledge transfer between younger and older employees to prevent organisational knowledge loss and capture that precious corporate memory.” The DWP said it was too early to determine if changes over the past year are short-term fluctuations or the beginning of a longer-term trend.
At the end of June 2021, 1.9 million employees were on furlough, representing 6% of the workforce.
Among workers aged 50 and over, more than 600,000 jobs were furloughed, representing over one third of workers on furlough (34%). This is compared with one third of older workers on furlough (34%), and up from 31% (nearly 800,000) at the end of May 2021.
Demand for HR professionals tops pre-COVID levels Vacancies for HR roles significantly dropped last year just as the first national lockdown began, however demand for people professionals has been quick to bounce back. The short recovery time has reinforced the importance of the profession as businesses looked to HR throughout the pandemic for guidance and support. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and Vacancyso found the number of vacancies for the profession dropped 38% year-on-year in 2020. The reduction in HR jobs was largely attributed to the first lockdown, which forced hiring levels down by 80.1% in April 2020 compared with the same month a year earlier. However, HR jobs started to recover as the year progressed, and by the end of 2020 vacancies were 12% higher than prepandemic levels.
Kate Palmer, director of HR advice at Peninsula, said the swi recruitment of HR professionals during the pandemic was unsurprising.
She told HR magazine: “With many businesses having to halt operations due to the pandemic, it is understandable that employers were not looking for HR specialists during the peak and may have either relied on their existing HR teams or external bodies.
“However, now that restrictions are being eased across the UK, employers may make hiring HR specialists a priority once more.” A
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6 HR September/October 2021