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Do employers really want older workers?


Proposals to raise the retirement age continue to attract controversy in both the public and private sectors. However, according to Sarah Vickerstaff, Professor of Work and Employment at the University of Kent, the real issue is not so much whether individuals will want or need to work longer. It is whether employers are willing to continue to employ them.

Professor Vickerstaff, from the University’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research will be speaking at a conference in Berlin about the need for both the supply side measures, such as the New Deal for 50+ designed to get older people back into work, and demand side policies, which encourage employers to retain their older workers. The conference, More and Better Jobs for Older Workers :International Exchange of Experience, is being held in Berlin on 13 December 2005 and is organised by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour. It will bring together experts from Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium and Britain to focus on one of the aims of the Lisbon Strategy, which is to reach an employment rate of 50% for older workers across the European Union by 2010.

Professor Vickerstaff said: ‘Urging people to work for longer and delay retirement can only be part of any attempt to increase the numbers of older workers in employment. Many individuals may want, or more likely need, to work longer. The real issue is whether employers are willing to continue employing them?’

Karen Baxter | alfa
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