About WOW - Wellbeing of Older Workers
Context - The Ageing Population
The Ageing Global Population
The United Nations has declared 2021 to 2030 the Decade of Healthy Ageing in recognition that populations around the world are ageing at a faster pace than in the past and this demographic transition will have an impact on almost all aspects of society.
The Ageing UK Workforce
In the United Kingdom it is widely recognised that employers need to make work both more attractive and feasible for older workers with government calling for employers to retain, retrain and recruit older workers. At the University of Glasgow there is no requirement to retire – although you will be able to access your pension at the official retirement age, you can work for as long as you want. As age is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 it is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of employee's age.
WOW- Wellbeing for Older Workers
The IHW 50+ Workers Group was established in 2018 with the aim to help to create a working environment that is suitable for and sensitive to the needs of older staff, by:
(a) ensuring that issues identified as impacting negatively on 50+ workers are being properly addressed either at university or institute level;
(b) raising awareness of policies and activities that support working in later life.
In 2019, WOW undertook a consultation exercise which highlighted a number of areas of concern for older workers. Six main, sometimes overlapping, themes related to being an ‘older worker' emerged: flexible working; caring responsibilities; pensions and retirement; career progression; health; and line manager awareness. After securing funding from the Welcome Trust ISSF3 (International Strategic Support Fund 3) – for activities that focus on improving equality and diversity – a Project Officer was employed to build on the consultation by creating a Toolkit, a 50+ Workers Volunteer Network and workshops aimed at older workers.
IHW Staff Consultation
In 2019, current and former staff aged over 50 years in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing were consulted about their experiences of being an older worker.
Read excerpts from the consultation:
"How do you actually wind down in retirement? Do you just stop working and the next month you don't get any wages but a pension appears, does that just happen?"
"when you're older ...it's just accepted that you are where you are and you're not going anywhere, whereas younger workers are given more opportunity to progress"
"flexibility in my working hours is the biggest thing for me"
"menopause can have quite an impact"
"there isn't much patience from younger line managers"
"if you give too much away people think it's a 'skiver's charter'!"
"we are a generation of sandwich carers"
"phased retirements is a really good idea - if you come to work every day you don't want to just stop"
This toolkit aims to help answer some of those questions as well as signpost policies and support at the University of Glasgow to let all older workers keep WOWing!