The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the 50Plus Choices Employer Taskforce are urging the UK Minister for Employment, Jo Churchill MP, to prioritize flexible working for individuals aged over 50.

The task force, comprising influential organizations such as the British Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the Institute of Directors, aims to spotlight the importance of flexibility in the workplace for older employees, who constitute over 30% of the working-age population.

Survey Insights: A Demand for Flexibility

With a focus on financial security and overall well-being, the report titled “Flexible after fifty” calls for policymakers and employers to recognize the value of the over-50s demographic. Claire McCartney, Senior Policy Adviser at CIPD, emphasizes the need to provide meaningful work that aligns with their skills and experience, contributing positively to their financial security and overall sense of purpose.

The report reveals that 72% of over-50s in the UK seek flexible work to achieve a better work-life balance. A significant 34% cite caregiving responsibilities and a desire for more personal time as primary drivers. These insights were gathered through collaboration with influential organizations, emphasizing the broad consensus on the need for change.

Rising Trend in Flexible Working

The report highlights the increasing adoption of various flexible working arrangements among the over-50s. Approximately 3.6 million individuals, constituting 33.2%, engage in part-time work. Homeworking rates have surged from 10% in 2020 to 22.4% in 2023. Additionally, 9% of over-50s embrace flexitime, allowing customization of their start and end times within defined limits.

In anticipation of the Flexible Working Act, effective from April 2024, the report recommends proactive steps by the Government to encourage and facilitate flexible working across age groups. Key recommendations include providing practical examples tailored for over-50s, supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in implementing flexible work legislation, and reviewing training offerings to ensure flexibility.

Empowering Employers: A Strategic Approach

The report extends a series of recommendations for employers, emphasizing proactive measures to harness the valuable skills and experience the over-50s bring to the workplace. It suggests promoting the availability of flexible work options, providing support to people managers, incorporating flexible work promotion in job adverts, and actively adopting age-friendly employer pledges.

As the report gains momentum, it advocates not only for legislative changes but also for a cultural shift within businesses. By actively promoting flexible working and providing adequate support structures, employers can tap into the wealth of experience that older workers offer, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.

The 50Plus Choices Employer Taskforce will present these recommendations to Minister Jo Churchill MP, initiating a conversation on the pivotal role of flexible working in shaping the future of work for the over-50s.