50/50 Challenge: Expanding the 50+ Workforce

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen an increase in the number of people leaving the labour market and becoming “economically inactive”. The biggest increase has been in the 50 to 65 age group with a 2.4% increase since March 2020 compared to 1.5% of the working age population.  “Not being able to afford to live” is the main reason people aged over 50, working with the Employment and Skills Hub are looking to return to work.  However, as well as financial independence, work also brings purpose, community, and identity, as well as benefitting general health and wellbeing.

Locally those aged between 50 and 65 who have become economically inactive has trebled since the beginning of the Pandemic and with unprecedented numbers of vacancies we have set ourselves a challenge to work with employers and job seekers aged over 50 to try and encourage more people back into the workplace.

We are looking for 50 Gloucestershire employers to offer 50 hours of work placement to 50 people aged over 50.

Through the 50/50 Challenge we hope to bring together individuals who are currently disengaged with employers to help understand the challenges and create opportunities for both. It is important that the skills and experiences of the over 50s are retained in the workforce and this initiative will help open up opportunities for people looking to return to work and address perceived challenges by both individuals and employers.

The initiative is already gathering momentum following its launch during the recent Over 50’s employment fair in Gloucester which welcomed Minister of State for Employment, Guy Opperman MP. The Minister complimented the initiative, saying that he would take what he had seen back to Parliament as an example which other areas of the country can learn from.

In his speech at the start of the day, Guy Opperman MP, said, “This is genuinely innovative; one of the reasons I’ve come today is to try and understand how this works and to learn lessons from what Gloucester can teach the rest of the country.  We want to try and promote over 50s employment and community engagement, and that’s the partnership that’s going on here; I’m trying to go around and speak to everyone and learn the lessons so we can than try and replicate this up and down the country.  Partnership working is key; no one can do this on their own but together we can make a massive difference.”

As a local employer you play a crucial role and could help eliminate the discrimination around older workers and enhance your ability to support your whole workforce, including those who are older and younger. The potential to increase your customer base through this initiative is significant and being able to tap into the undiscovered pool of talent and potential of the over 50s age group to help fill your vacancies, keeping you at the forefront of inclusive employment and social value.

There are also benefits for individuals.  Your support of this initiative could unlock increased confidence for the individual, enable them to recognise their transferable skills and help them make more informed choices due to the experience they receive working with you. An individual may have self-assessed limitations but an opportunity like this can open their eyes to flexible working options such as phased retirement and job share opportunities. This initiative has the potential for an individual to secure a sustainable role with you as their host employer or at the very least gain the confidence to apply for roles with others.

If you would like to get involved, please email employers@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Vikki Walters

Strategic Lead for Inclusive Employment – Gloucestershire Employment and Skills Hub

Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Directorate

Gloucestershire County Council, 4th Floor, 4 – 6 Commercial Rd, Gloucester, GL1 2EA

Telephone: 01452 328645 / Mobile: 07785337281

Email: vikki.walters@gloucestershire.gov.uk

We are recruiting https://careers.gloucestershire.gov.uk/

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