UK bosses welcome scrapping of retirement age

Businesses believe employees should be judged on merit, not age

The majority of UK small and medium sized businesses welcome the abolition of the default retirement age, with 77% believing employees should be judged on merit, not age.

This is the conclusion of a recent survey by Orange, the mobile phone and broadband provider, which found that over half (54%) of business bosses felt that more experienced employees can help younger staff develop in their own roles.

Of the 2,017 small and medium-sized business owners who replied to the survey, 84% said they would be willing to offer greater flexible working options to employees over 65, to order to keep them in the business for longer.

The government’s decision to scrap compulsory retirement at 65, and force employers to give a reason for dismissing employees once they reach this age, has come under heavy criticism in some quarters, with opponents claiming it will increase bureaucracy and add to the burden on beleaguered small business owners.

However, the Orange survey suggests many entrepreneurs are keen to retain the key skills of experienced employees.

Commenting on the report, Martin Lyne, small business director at Orange said: “Understandably, many businesses don’t want to lose their most knowledgeable workers.  “Flexible working can offer the perfect solution for both parties, providing a work-life balance that suits those staff who may be tempted by the thought of winding down a little.”

Lyne added that, because a sizeable amount of the UK economy is “built on knowledge rather than manual labour or manufacturing, experience is one of the most valuable resources many businesses have.”

© Crimson Business. Ltd 2011

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