Retirement age abolition ‘affecting jobs for youths’

Littlehampton Job Centre
Littlehampton Job Centre

THE ABOLITION of the default retirement age is preventing young people getting on the jobs ladder as employees work for longer, business figures say.

The Government has phased-out default retirement ages in most sectors, which some feel has placed pressure on employers in terms of managing workforces.

Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce CEO said there was a balancing act to be struck between people working longer and ensuring there were places for young people.

She said: “It seems imbalanced to make people stay in their jobs longer when there are young people desperately keen to get on the jobs ladder.

“However, there is always exceptions to the rule where people over the retirement age are still having enormous value to the business community.”

Managing director of East Worthing-based ETI Peter Webb argued that in some cases, the lack of a retirement age may lead to difficult conversations with staff who are unable to work as efficiently.

He said: “The Government’s decision to abolish the default retirement age has put additional pressure on businesses in terms of managing their workforce, and in particular has meant that there are less job opportunities for the young.”

Mr Webb conceded there was always numerous examples of older workers with vital skills, when things did not go to plan, proceedings could be ‘lengthy and drawn-out’.

He said: “While I accept businesses like my own will benefit from older workers’ precious skills and experience, it is now down to employers to prove an employee is incompetent.

“To force an employee to ask them to retire, this process can be a lengthy and drawn-out, which is incompatible with the Government’s stated desire to boost enterprise and de-regulate the employment arena.”

In the retail sector, older workers can be extremely useful, according to town centre manager Sharon Clarke.

But, again, she believes flexibility is the key.

She said: “Many shops find that employing a more mature person can help with customer service.

“However, businesses need flexibility, so they can ensure that when that person is struggling to cope with the demands of retail life, that they have the ability to make the changes to protect their business and the customer experience.”

Having no set retirement age is positive for some, not others, said Littlehampton-based Swan Digital’s marketing manager, Bob Lincoln.

Mr Lincoln said both he and his wife were approaching retirement, but had differing views on the subject.

He said: “My wife, who is 60, was hoping to retire next year, but will now have to carry on until 2018, whereas I enjoy work and could see myself continuing as long as I am able to do so.”