Age in the Workplace: Over 60% of Ireland’s Employees Expect to Work Past Age 66 years


Catherine O'Flynn, spoke with Matt Cooper on Today FM's The Last Word, and to Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1 about the findings of our Age in the Workplace Employment Report. Listen to both interviews by clicking the images below.

 RTE Radio 1The Last Word





61% believe older workers are inhibited by technological change 

According to a survey of 1,000 employers and employees in Ireland, 61% of employees believe they will have to work past age 66 years while only 32% would like to work beyond that age. The research published in the William Fry Employment Report 2019: Age in the Workplace looked at some of the current issues around two well debated topics - an ageing workforce and mandatory retirement.

Survey findings include:

  • 35 - 54-year: 67% believe they will have to work past 66 although only 28% want to work over 66
  • Over 55-year: 36% believe they will have to work past 66 but only 41% want to work over 66
  • Retirement age: 53% of females have jobs with a retirement age in contrast to 44% of males
  • Perception of older workers: 61% believe that older workers are inhibited by technological change

Commenting on the Employment Report 2019, Catherine O’Flynn, Head of William Fry’s Employment & Benefits Department, said: “According to recent CSO figures, there are 76,000 workers over the age of 65 in the Irish workforce, up from 69,000 in the previous 12 months. Factors driving these changes, include improved longevity, higher living costs and delayed receipt of State pension. With the majority of employees believing that they will have to work longer than ever before, now is the time for employers to act and prepare for a more age-diverse workplace”.

The Report also notes that there were 1,449 equality complaints made to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in 2018. Of these complaints, age was included in approximately 49% of all equality claims. These figures show a significant increase in age related disputes when compared to the 2017 figures, where discrimination on the ground of age was alleged in only 24% of equality claims.

According to William Fry, recruitment and promotion processes are particularly prone to age bias, whether conscious or unconscious. To avoid this, some of the measures that employers should implement include:

  • Ensuring that recruitment material is age neutral and non-discriminatory.
  • Providing training on unconscious bias to internal recruiters and decision makers.
  • Ensuring diversity amongst recruitment and decision makers.
  • Using objective assessment criteria when recruiting/promoting.
  • Never base a decision to hire/ not hire/ promote on any discriminatory grounds, including age.

In conclusion, Catherine O’Flynn, cautions employers: “Irish employers have introduced age-diverse policies and initiatives, such as raising the age of retirement, physically adapting the workplace, and aligning retirement age with the State pension age. However, all employers in Ireland need to plan for employees wishing to work beyond 66 years old. When this growing trend is added to the significant increase in age related disputes before the Workplace Relations Commission, many employers may be unnecessarily exposing themselves to legal risk.” 

Download our full Report here or click on the image below.  

Age in Workplace












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