Restart Scheme

Restart Scheme Blog


Welcome to our diverse collection of blog articles, all centred around the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of employability. Our goal is to provide you with insightful and practical content on a range of topics within the employability sector.

We work with support organisations, the voluntary sector, local government and employers to carry out research and share knowledge. Our blog aims to keep you informed, inspired, and equipped for success.

Navigating the Employment Challenges of Over 50s: Why Hire Older Workers?

Workers over the age of 50 may be out of work for many reasons but can be some of the smartest hires your company will make. Within the UK, age discrimination is prohibited under the Equality Act, ensuring that all workers regardless of age, are protected from any form of bias. Despite these legal protections, older employees may still face challenges due to ageism in the recruitment process. It is crucial for companies to recognise the potential advantages of the over-50s cohort, and actively work to eliminate any barriers they may encounter when seeking a job at the company.

Unfortunately, some employers still base their hiring and business decisions on age - employers can legally make decisions based on someone's age if they can show that it is objectively justified and proportionate. This can lead to redundancy for older workers and indirect or unconscious age discrimination.


Key Challenges Faced by Over 50s

Research conducted by ReAct Partnership, an industry-led centre for action research and continuous improvement within the Restart Scheme (part of the government’s plan for jobs), reveals that those over 50 have faced challenges in re-entering the labour market, especially during the pandemic and the rising cost of living.

Due to being part of the older generation, over-50 workers may face a skills gap, especially in terms of using digital tools. The way employers advertise and recruit for jobs has changed significantly and very few companies now have a physical application form, a method the over-50s cohort commonly used to apply for jobs when they started out in their working life.


Benefits of Hiring Workers Aged Over 50

There are multiple benefits of hiring workers aged over 50:

  1. As experienced workers, this cohort often require less training in comparison to their younger co-workers as they often have had more industry experience and expertise in their respective fields.
  2. Employers can benefit from having a varied, dynamic workforce due to a mix of skills, opinions, and perspectives.
  3. Over-50 workers tend to bring a strong work ethic, further enhancing the overall performance of their employer.
  4. Over-50 workers are also often more loyal to their jobs, taking fewer days off and having an overall longer tenure compared to their younger colleagues.
  5. Another benefit that the older cohort can bring is mentorship for the younger generation – over-50 workers can play a vital role in providing skills, experience and knowledge in the workplace.


What Is Being Done to Support Older Workers?

Prime Cymru, a registered charity supporting mature individuals in Wales, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have a network of Development Officers and 50 PLUS Champions offering one-to-one dedicated support for this cohort which includes:

  • Providing employability support including:
  • Work limitations – considering what is no longer possible due to age factors Identifying relevant and transferrable skills and CV building          
  • Job finding, completing applications
  • Training and upskilling including functional skills like maths and digital skills
  • Support with confidence-building confidence
  • Mental health support.
  • Connecting with local support services.


Serco Restart Scheme Signs Age Friendly Pledge

Leading by example, Serco Restart Scheme hosted an event in March 2023 to address and share knowledge and best practice on the subject of barriers to employment for older workers with partners and stakeholders. Since then, the Serco Restart Scheme has made efforts to further develop and enhance the support we offer to older Restart Scheme participants to take into account their unique challenges while searching for work.

Serco's Restart Scheme Team has also demonstrated its commitment to supporting the employment of those aged over 50 by providing free digital skills courses, frequently working closely with the Centre for Ageing Better (CAB) and DWP's 50 PLUS Champions to gain advice and guidance, and signing the CAB’s Age Friendly Employer Pledge. The Age Friendly Pledge is a nationwide programme for employers who recognise the importance and value of older workers and are committed to improving work opportunities for people in their 50s (and beyond) and are prepared to take action to help them flourish in a multigenerational workforce. By eradicating age discrimination and promoting inclusivity, companies can tap into the invaluable experience and work ethic that the over 50s cohort brings.

Read ReAct Partnership’s research paper here and Chwarae Teg’s (a charity leading gender equality in Wales) report of working experiences of women over 50.

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