How are work requirements and environments evolving and what will be the impact of this on individuals who will reach 65 in 2025 and 2040?

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


An ageing population and workforce bring both challenges and opportunities to employers. Consideration of these, alongside changing work requirements and environments, is needed to aid understanding and organisational planning. This Evidence Review focuses on the ageing workforce, how organisations are reacting (or not) to this, and what the likely impact of workforce demographics and organisational changes will be on older individuals in the future, i.e. those reaching age 65 in 2025 and 2040. The review presents existing research evidence and covers four broad areas: changing institutional arrangements, work environments, employer attitudes, and older workers’ capacity to work. Evidence gaps and areas where limited evidence exists are identified. The attitudes of older individuals to work can be expected to change between 2025 and 2040. Workers retiring in 10 years’ time have spent the majority of their working lives with theexpectation of retiring at approximately 65, and will be more likely to expect a ‘main’ career with a steady rise up the career ladder before retirement. However individuals aged 65 in 2040 will be more accepting of the need to work to an older age, and the possibility they may need to move between jobs and roles and to acquire new skills throughout their career. The outlook for older workers in 10 and 25 years’ time is drawn from the evidence presented and summarised at the start of each review area. Change, particularly in relation to attitudes and workplace practices, is likely to be gradual. Given this, it is expected that workers aged 65 in 10 years’ time will have experiences similar to those detailed by the evidence in this review, whereas workers aged 65 in 25 years’ time are likely to have different work attitudes and will be exposed to a different work ‘reality’ as practices and attitudes towards older workers change. Although not exhaustive, the following points summarise the outlook for older workers:• Older workers will increasingly be protected against age discrimination by policies and practices.• There will be increasing older worker demand for part-time and flexible work.• Training demand will increase to enable workers to have skills relevant to changing work environments.• The trend towards reduced manual and increased people work will continue. Olderworkers have the skills needed for such work but may be deterred by low pay.• Stereotypes change slowly and older workers may continue to be negatively affected in the near future. Over time, however, increased positive older worker information, and demographic change, should begin to challenge and reduce negative stereotypes.• Uncertainty relating to changes to retirement practice will reduce over time. By 2040 retirement decisions should be driven by employee choice, or be performance-related, and be less influenced by expectations of a ‘normal’ retirement age.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication
PublisherGovernment Office for Science
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • ageing, workforce, evidence review,


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