Work, education, skills and the 100-year life

This report from UK think tank Social Market Foundation looks at education and work in the context of longer careers.

Longer careers raise important questions about the future of work and education in the UK – is our education system built for the 50-year career? Are workplaces and employers adopting age-friendly policies? Do workers have adequate skills and training to thrive? This report focuses on the future of work, education and skills in the era of extreme longevity. Living longer means working longer As life expectancy continues to rise, the number of years spent working is likely to increase. The 50-year career will become the norm. It is unlikely to be true that the career chosen at 18 or 21 will be the career of the individual when they retire. Changes to the labour market, technology and the wider environment could mean that at various points in a person’s working life they need to change careers and retrain. Public attitudes to work and ageing It has been estimated that people should be planning for five careers in their lifetime. However, the polling shows very little willingness amongst older employees to change their current career. Less than four in ten of those aged 35 to 54 are interested in changing careers, those in the lower end of this age bracket have at least thirty years remaining in the labour market – to put it bluntly they are less than halfway through their working life. Longer working lives will not just affect employees – it will affect employers too. The research found that employers were most concerned with issues in relation to increased pension contributions and time out of the workforce due to sickness / illness. The difference in the proportion of employers worried about the need to reskill or train staff was only four percentage points – with those not worried coming out as dominant.

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