The Centre for Research into the Older Workforce exists to study the working of the ageing workforce, in the UK and beyond.
The Centre was created in response to the growing policy interest in the ageing population, and to the wish of Governments to encourage more people to stay in paid work later in life.
We are particularly interested in understanding the attitudes to retirement and work after 50 of older people and employers; in how the skills of people over 50 can help overcome skills gaps and shortages; and in the kinds of education and training which might help in this.
The operation of the labour market, the processes of ageing, and education in later life are all well established fields of academic study. However, until recently there has been little research into their interaction in the over 50 labour market, and the role of education and training in the decisions to retire or stay in employment. If employers are to be persuaded to change their behaviour to make work more attractive, and individuals more prepared to stay in work, we need to know more about the factors which affect the decision to retire, and the willingness of employers to redesign work to make it more attractive to older people. The implementation of Age Diversity legislation in the UK in 2006 gives these questions added urgency.
The issues are particularly pressing in the South East of England, where skills gaps and shortages combine with housing shortages and transport constraints to limit growth in the regional economy. For this reason the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) provided the Centre with start up funding for its first three years. However, we have also undertaken work at national and international levels, and we aim to maintain a long-term centre of expertise on the older workforce.