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Ageing workforce poses challenges

31 May 2024

Ageing workforce poses challenges

The fact that the workforce is ageing and comprises a significant proportion of people with health conditions has implications for employers in construction and other industries in terms of staff recruitment, retention and workplace management.

That was amongst the topics discussed at the recent Action on Site Health Scotland 2024 event held in Dunblane and sponsored by the RVT Group, a specialist hirer of equipment to manage site hazards like noise, dust, ambient temperature and fumes.

Robert Atkinson, Organisational Lead for Fair Work and Employability with Public Health Scotland, described a picture of decline in the country and the rest of the UK.

Life expectancy north of the border is falling particularly in low income areas, the typical difference being 14 years for men and 11 years for women compared with more affluent locations. When healthy life expectancy is considered, the difference is 26 years and 25 years respectively.

Robert Atkinson said that health depended on more factors than just access to and quality of health care. Others included lifestyle choices and also socio-economic factors like income, security of employment contracts and the workplace environment. Employers’ actions therefore had an influence.

Similarly, an ageing population mean that existing workers could eventually encounter health problems if they stayed in employment for longer. Moreover, employers faced with a declining available labour pool might have to recruit older people with relevant skills and aptitude, especially as a greater proportion of people aged between 16 and 24 are not actively looking for work since the pandemic.

By the age of 50, 50% of the working population would have developed at least one long-term health condition, said Robert Atkinson, and employers had to take account of this in terms of task delivery and workplace support.

● Based in Dartford, RVT Group has five other depots across the country. The business was founded in 1993 and traded under the Rentavent name until 2016. It holds several conferences and events on workplace health and safety throughout the year.

Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay


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