United Kingdom

Six considerations for supporting an older workforce with benefits

July 2019


Commuting on bus

It goes without saying that different employees at different life stages will have different requirements from their employer and their employee benefits programmes.

As employee benefits have the potential to have a huge impact on the wellbeing and work/life balance of employees, it is imperative to ensure they cater to all generations.

The proportion of those aged 65 and over who work has almost doubled since 1992; in the period March-May 1992, just 5.5% (478,000) of the 65+ population were in employment; in May-July 2016, 10.4% (1.19 million) were working1. According to the Aon DC and Financial Wellbeing Member Survey 2018, this trend seems unlikely to change. 53% of respondents said that they still expect to be working at age 67 and only 31% expect to retire fully from work at retirement age. Adapting benefits and catering to an older generation’s requirements is more critical than ever.


1. Health and well-being


All employers should be thinking about implementing a structured health and well-being programme, with a holistic approach to health:

Preventative support: preventing ill-health is best for both employer and employee. Articles, webinars or even events on how to stay fit and healthy will improve awareness and help employees manage their health. To provide support for older workers, this information can be tailored around chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Diagnosis and treatment: it’s important to remove barriers to access; detection should be quick and easy via health screening, supported by a virtual or onsite GP or clear guidelines from occupational health. Employers should also ensure their private medical and cash plans cover older workers and that treatment programmes are accessible to all.

Recovery: during and after treatment, full support needs to be offered from line managers and occupation health as recovery may take longer.


2. Caring for elderly relatives


Companies need to ensure that they provide adequate support and flexibility for older workers. This could be from reducing working hours, signposting and advice on retirement provisions – including considerations for care costs.


3. Flexible working


Traditionally, retirement happens at 60 or 65 after working a five-day week for 40 years or so. However nowadays, some older workers do not want to retire – the Aon DC and Financial Wellbeing Member Survey 2018 showed that just 31% of respondents expect to retire fully at retirement age – and therefore would consider working a short day or a reduced number of days to fit in with their lifestyle and financial requirements. This allows them to still earn a salary but also balance work with their personal life.


4. Education and training


Although older employees might not be looking to climb the career ladder, it’s important not to overlook continued learning within the workforce. This could be a new skill, or a focus on familiarising and training on digital tech. The delivery method is also important; a combination of face-to-face, small groups and online will help to ensure employers are catering to all generations. Some of the older workforce may still prefer a more personal approach to communication; research shows that the Baby Boomer generation value face-to-face communication over computer-mediated communication2. In order to be inclusive, detailed training needs to be available online for users to access remotely or to refresh those skills.


5. Managing retirement


Planning for retirement can feel like an overwhelming burden for employees. A financial planning programme can help employees prepare financially for retirement and understand the various options available. Offering modelling tools to future plan income in retirement can help employees determine when they may want to reduce their hours or retire entirely. Line managers should also be aware of employees intentions to retire, in order to accommodate future workforce planning.


6. Age Diversity


Company culture should be supporting, celebrating and facilitating a diverse range of ages in the workplace.

By analysing the demographic data of their employee workforce and aligning with their benefit take-up evaluation, companies will be able to plan strategically around this information. This will then show clear trends of the type of benefits and coverage employees are offered and can influence future decisions.

Consideration should be given to offering a range of benefits to support all ages, and this is an area where voluntary benefits might be the optimal option – allowing employees to choose the benefits they want from the business, and which should have a positive impact on return on investment. Employers that are able to offer a flexible benefits programme can include a range of core and voluntary benefits, effectively catering to the complex landscape of multigenerational requirements.


Benefits Strategy Banner

For more information or to discuss any of the issues outlined in this article, please get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] or call us on 0344 573 0033.




Aon UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 00210725. Registered Office: The Aon Centre, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AN.