Changing demographics in Britain will make it far more difficult for employers to fill job vacancies in the future according to a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Britain’s population is ageing as people continue to live longer. In 1971, the proportion of the population under 16 was 25%; by 2008 it has fallen to 19%. At the other end of the scale, the population over the age of 65 has risen from 13% to 16%. By 2031, a quarter of people will be over 65 whereas people under 16 will have fallen to just 18%. The number of people over 90 is expected to triple by 2035.
The implications of these figures for British employers are considerable. According to the CIPD report, over the next ten years there will be 13.5 million job vacancies but only 7 million young people will be leaving full time education. The other 6.5 million workers will need to be recruited amongst the older population.
The CIPD is encouraging companies and individual workers to start adapting to the reality of the demographic situation. It suggests that employers should consider the need to retain employees for longer periods and be prepared to motivate and train older staff. This change will require a shift of perception that values an older workforce for the experience it can bring to a company and for investing more in skill development across the age spectrum.
The CIPD believes that companies that embrace the change will develop a competitive edge over those that refuse to adapt to the changing nature of the country’s labour pool.