PwC: Closing ‘participation gap’ among Scots aged over-55 could create over 55,000 jobs

PwC: Closing ‘participation gap’ among Scots aged over-55 could create over 55,000 jobs

Jason Morris

New analysis by PwC UK has shown that bringing labour market participation among Scotland’s older workers up to similar levels to the South East of England could create more than 55,000 additional jobs.

The latest Golden Age Index highlights the significant regional variation in the employment rate of older workers aged 55-64 in the UK, with Scotland the third lowest of the UK’s nations and regions at 60.7% - compared with 68% in the South East of England.

The Index measures how well countries are harnessing the power of their older workers. It shows that if all 12 UK regions absorbed older workers into the labour force to a similar extent as the South East, it would translate to an additional 320,000 jobs – equivalent to around one third of UK vacancies.

The regional disparities are believed to be driven by a variety of factors, including educational incomes and the likelihood of older workers in Scotland, the North East and Northern Ireland – which have the lowest employment rates of 55-64 year-olds – to be employed in industries like education, health and manufacturing which offer less flexibility for employees.

Jason Morris, regional market Leader at PwC Scotland, said: “Whilst there is no doubting the regional disparities at play when it comes to participation of older workers, there is a clear opportunity here in Scotland to work towards absorbing more people over the age of 55 into the labour force.

“This will not only benefit the growth of the economy and alleviate inflationary pressures, but could also allow businesses and younger members of the workforce to benefit from their invaluable skills and experience.”

Mr Morris continued: “To some extent, the findings of the Golden Age Index tie in with key points highlighted in our recent Good Growth for Cities Index – which showed Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen tracking below the UK average for health. There’s a possibility that the impact of these health inequalities could be contributing to older workers choosing to exit the Scottish labour market.

“However, with more options for flexible working across key industries and the wealth of transferable skills our older Scottish workers possess, there’s real potential to harness the power of over 55s to boost the Scottish labour force and our resulting productivity.

“There’s a clear call to action for employers and businesses to target these individuals and support them in making the most of the skills they have at their disposal – or upskilling them to enable them to take advantage of more flexible working options.”

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