Persistent challenges in UK labour market to impact retirement readiness

Most of today’s headlines surrounding the latest release of labour market statistics will focus on the positives and there are many – falling unemployment and rising employment, an increase in the number of vacancies and a rise in the number of hours worked.  All this points towards a welcome recovery in the labour market which is recovering from the worst financial crisis in 100 years. But, if you dig a little deeper it is clear that some of the most persistent challenges associated with the labour market remain.

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Europe’s economy needs more older workers

Europe faces significant labour market gaps as a result of demographic change. In the UK alone there are 13.5 million job vacancies, which need to be filled over the next ten years. But only seven million young people are projected to leave school and college over that time.

Despite a growth in the number of older workers since the 1990s, the EU is still failing to meet its target set in 2001 to achieve 50% employment rate of older workers by 2010. Over the period 2002-2008, the average age of labour market withdrawal among the EU-28 had only increased by an estimated 1.3 years, from 60.1 to 61.4.

And whilst the employment levels of older workers has increased over the past decade by 10% there is significant variation across Europe. Just 13% of Hungarians aged 60-64 were in work in 2010 compared to over 60% of Swedes. Continue reading

Payments divide

Last week’s infrastructure collapse by NatWest/RBS brought into focus our increasing reliance on technology to support payments.

Many thousands found themselves embarrassed in petrol stations and supermarkets, finding their credit and debit card’s refused. Online banking systems failed and consumers hit to social media to vent anger.

The way we pay for goods and services is hardly the sexiest topic we at ILC-UK are lucky enough to explore. But as we saw last week, it is all too easy to become complacent about what is a fundamentally important part of our economy. Continue reading

Guest Blog: Carers UK – Supporting a loved one with dementia – employer/employee survey launched by Carers UK

With our ageing population in the UK, dementia is an increasingly important issue. The number of people caring for someone with the condition is set to grow by a quarter to reach 850,000 by the end of the decade.

With more and more people combining work and caring for older, sick or disabled parents and other loved ones, dementia also doesn’t just affect families and healthcare services. It also impacts on workplaces – and therefore businesses and the economy. Continue reading

Guest blog: Lyndsey Burton, Choose.Net – Retirement planning: seeking an effective intervention

Individuals are being asked to take ever more responsibility for their own retirement savings.

Auto-enrolment means that many more people have started saving into a pension scheme: 1.6 million, according to figures from September, and with an opt-out rate so far of just 9%, far lower than most expected.

However, job-hopping, delayed transition to adulthood and other factors like increased debt in older age will put a cap on its effectiveness unless individuals make a proactive effort to kick start their savings. Continue reading

Call for action: Hydration for older people

‘More than 1,000 care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade’ reports The Daily Telegraph. The article also mentions that the figure could be higher if care home residents who die in hospital are included. The figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act are the result of an analysis of death certificates by the Office of National Statistics. The article highlights the outcry by various charities for improvements in hydration for older people, and demands action by policy makers and the regulator.

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Should we forget about ‘the older consumer’?

As part of the ILC-UK and Personal Finance Resource Centre (PFRC) partnership project on financial circumstances and wellbeing, funded by ESRC through the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, a seminar hosted by Brown-Forman in October 2013 to discuss findings around consumer spending. At this seminar, David Hayes from the PFRC presented new research exploring patterns of expenditure among older people. This research was then debated by an expert roundtable, along with broader questions surrounding the ‘older consumer’.

How to market to the older generations is becoming an increasingly important topic as the UK’s population ages. A key issue to be addressed by marketeers is how to avoid the homogenisation of this group, as its diversity is often lost in ageist perceptions of ‘what older people want’. David Hayes’s and Sharon Collard’s research findings combat this one dimensional view of older people by investigating their differing spending habits. Continue reading