Scotland's labour force is changing. For example, by 2010 almost 40% of the workforce will be over 45, while 18-24 year olds will make up only 17% of potential workers. Recruiting the right people with the right skills and experience, and retaining them, will become more difficult and is a key issue for future business performance.
New employment legislation to be introduced will impact on every business. Though still to be finalised, there will be additional legislation dealing with age equality, discrimination, pensions and retirement. The legislation, which is currently being developed with public consultation, will address age discrimination in employment, vocational training and guidance.
The challenge faced is in 2 parts:
1. Older people will play an increasingly important role in Scotland's economy, but face major barriers in finding and retaining employment and overcoming discrimination;
2. Employers face increasing competition for workers with the right skills and abilities. Older workers are increasingly attractive to employers as potential employees because of their life experience and people skills. However, companies may need support and guidance in organising their workforce to accommodate the needs of older workers in terms of work patterns, caring responsibilities and pensions.
The SSI is recognised as a centre of expertise in finding ways to meet both of the above challenges and plays a major role in advising policy makers and business on age focussed issues.
Advancing Women's Employability
The Advancing Women's Employability (AWE) project is developing and piloting a range of innovative methods to engage and support older women in developing new careers in higher level jobs, particularly in growth areas of the local and Scottish economy.
Older Workers' Learning
The Older Workers Learning (OWL) Project is developing a range of innovative methods to support older workers participate in lifelong learning. The project will assist people aged 50+, either in employment or unemployed, to reconnect with learning, develop new skills, and increase future employability.