ERSA & Centre for Ageing Better back investment in employment support for over-50s

The government’s planned investment in employment support is a welcome development, according to the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and the Centre for Ageing Better.

Some £22 million will be invested in new measures to tackle unemployment amongst the over 50s on benefits, with jobseeekers in this cohort receiving more one-to-one support at jobcentres to help them get into, and progress in work, boosting their earnings ahead of retirement.

This increased support will be boosted by 37 50PLUS Champions covering every district across England, Wales and Scotland who will work with local employers to help them realise how their recruitment could benefit from the talent of older workers.

ERSA said that due to the nature of the challenges this group faces, it is “pleasing” to see the government have made it a priority to try and support older workers.

“This package may go some way to re-engaging many of the older population who have left the workforce in their thousands since the pandemic.

“However, it is worth noting that these measures do not target the economically inactive over 50s that are not claiming benefits. The Office for National Statistics reported in March that only 23% of 50 to 59-year-olds, who left the workforce since the pandemic and had yet not returned, were receiving state benefits and therefore entitled to support from their local jobcentre.

“This leaves a huge proportion of people who will miss out on this package. ERSA encourages the government to engage with specialist employment support organisations that have a track record of reaching those who don’t engage with the benefits system and will subsequently miss out on this support.”


Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said it is “really welcome” that the Department for Work & Pensions is recognising the importance of a bespoke approach to older workers.

“We know that older workers face unique challenges, such as ageism in the workplace and a possible gap in skills compared to some of their younger counterparts, so we will gladly support any tailored action that begins chip away at these significant roadblocks standing in the way of older people accessing fulfilling work.

“Research shows that people over 50 are more likely to have caring responsibilities, with 12% of men and 16% of women aged 55-64 providing informal care and increased support from Work Coaches will help them navigate these barriers.

“With the economy back on its feet, and the demand for experienced staff, the advice will help older workers make the right choice for them. And for those who have been out of work for nine months, the government’s Restart Scheme will provide a year of intensive support to get them back on the career ladder.

“One year since its launch, the Restart Scheme is already seeing the first jobseekers take up work and leave the scheme and is currently supporting a quarter of a million people get the skills they need to re-enter the workforce.

“This is part of the government’s renewed focus on growing the economy and helping people find work and boost their earnings.”

Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better