Older workers are just as productive as younger staff: survey

More than 75% of businesses say older employees function just as well as younger staff.  In fact, 12% claim people over the age of 55 work better, according to a report published on Tuesday by the government’s social policy think tank SCP.

However, while two-thirds of employers said they had no problem with paying older workers more than younger staffers, 25% said seniors’ productivity did not merit their higher wages. This applied particularly in the building trades.

One-third of the companies surveyed said they offered older employees a shorter average working week, and nearly 30% offered those aged 55 and older a lighter work load.  But older employees got no special treatment when it came to working overtime, irregular hours and night shifts, the survey found.

However, when it came to employing people with handicaps, just 11% planned to employ more less physically or mentally able staff over the next two years.

The most common reasons were a lack of suitable positions (41%), no jobs available (27%) and no capacity for support (12%). However, a large number of employers were not aware of various subsidies available to help pay for disabled staff, the survey showed.