Fuller Working Lives, is a government lead partnership approach which encourages businesses to retain, retrain and recruit older workers.

As the workforce ages, employers are increasingly having to retain the valuable skills of their older workers. With many people leaving the workforce before they reach State Pension age, it’s important for employers to offer opportunities, such as retraining and flexible working, to keep them.

Evidence shows that multi-generational workforces are more productive and that businesses benefit from the experience, loyalty and reliability that older workers bring. For employees, making informed and timely career and retirement choices can ensure they are financially secure throughout their life.


fwl Stats


  • The number of individuals aged 50 years and over as a proportion of the adult population is projected to increase from 42 per cent in 2010 to 50 per cent (29.4 million) by 2035. [ONS 2016-based population projections]
  • Between 2018 and 2023 there will be 650,000 more people aged 50-64 (an increase of 5.1%), and 140,000 fewer people aged 15-49 (a decrease of 0.5%). [ONS 2016-based population projections]
  • In 2010, one in four of the working age population were age 50 and over, this is projected to increase to one in three by 2021. [ONS 2016-based population projections]

How does the ageing workforce affect you? 

  • Fewer younger people coming from education and training, means heavier reliance on retaining and recruitment of older people
  • Once in work, older workers require retraining to ensure their skills are up to date and they can adapt to any changes in the work environment

 Top tips for employers 

Firstly, conduct an age audit (Look), talk to employees about the results (Listen) and consider options (Act) including:

  • flexible working in its fullest sense (not just part-time)
  • support for carers, including both paid and unpaid carers’ leave
  • career conversations
  • advice on financial planning, health and skills, including pre-retirement advice, age-specific wellness programmes, workplace adaptations and retraining
  • apprenticeships for older workers
  • fair recruitment where older people are actively encouraged to apply for and get a proportion of jobs on offer
  • jobs designed for flexible working that are advertised as such
  • intergenerational mentoring

Skills, Productivity and the Ageing Workforce:

Nearly one in three workers in the UK are aged 50 and over, and with the average employee in the UK in their 40s, this is set to grow over the next decade. With many more people working into their 60s and beyond, people aged 50 may have another 20 years of working life ahead of them.
As the workforce gets older, the competition is now on for the best and most experienced staff. There are fewer school leavers, and the expectation is that it will become harder and harder to fill vacancies with workers from outside the UK.
The older workforce is already a reality. Employers need to act now to attract and retain older workers or they will fall behind their competitors.

The above Tri-fold leaflet is a very useful source of information and practical advice and contains links to a number of tool kits to help your business get the best from an ageing workforce.

Download the PDF Fuller Working Lives – Tri-Fold Leaflet

Practical help


The National Careers Service provides free, up to date, impartial information, advice and guidance on careers, skills and the labour market in England. The service has been working with employers to offer older workers a mid-life career review. The review helps identify how workers can update their skills, so they are able to consider other job opportunities with their employer that may suit them better as they approach retirement. https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/

Further information:

  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Fuller Working Lives Team works with employers and others to promote the benefits of retaining, retraining, and recruiting older workers. For information to inform activities and practical support contact: FULLER.WORKINGLIVES@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK
  • The Government’s Carers Action Plan 2018 to 2020 was published on 6 June, designed to deliver activity for carers across Government over the next two years ahead and is structured around the themes of services and systems that work for carers; employment and financial wellbeing; supporting young carers; recognising and supporting carers in the wider community; and building research and evidence to improve outcomes for carers.


You can download this pdf document by clicking on the link below. The document explains how as the population ages, employers need to draw on the skills and experience of older workers to avoid loss of labour.


princes responsible network

Getting Started on Age: Look, Listen, Act: This toolkit for employers will guide and support in getting started with age inclusion in the workplace and includes a three-step process based on Look, Listen, Act. access the Toolkit

Age Action Alliance

Age Action Alliance toolkit.  The Employer Toolkit is a new interactive resource, offering guidance for managers of older workers. The information available details how employers can better manage their workforce, and by doing so, how they can capitalise on the UK’s changing demographics. access the ToolKit

Centre for aging better

The Centre for Ageing Better is an independent charitable foundation that publishes reports on policies and practices for employing and managing an ageing workforce. Evidence drives everything the charity does. On their website, you can find their advised approach on involving people with lived experience into work as well as some FAQs. https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/our-work/being-fulfilling-work