The Scottish Pensioners' Forum recently received funding from the Scottish Government's Older People's Strategic Action Forum to carry out research which would be included in the publication A Fairer Scotland For Older People: A Framework for Action.
As the state pension age, as legislated by the Westminster Government, continues to rise there is often an economic necessity for older workers to remain in paid employment in Scotland.
The perception of older workers is one that can greatly influence the decisions that employers make in terms of recruitment, promotion, training, retirement and even redundancy and there is considerable evidence to suggest that older women, in particular, face unique struggles in the workplace throughout their working lives in terms of equal pay and promotion as well as having some of the highest incidences of workplace bullying.
According to a UK wide study undertaken by the TUC, 34% of women are more likely to be bullied at work in comparison to 23% of men and overall 29% of employees aged 55 and over have identified as being bullied at work. Taking into consideration the effects of workplace bullying, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that 46% of people say that bullying has an adverse effect on their mental and physical health, with 22% having to take time off work as a result of being bullied. Taking this into consideration, as well as the adverse effects that this has on the individual, this continuous practice could undoubtedly put a strain on welfare and health costs in Scotland.
Despite age discrimination being against the law, many older workers are afraid to speak out over fear of losing their jobs and so the practice remains, in many cases, largely hidden.
There have been several publications published recently by the Scottish Government which have looked at older workers and employment however the samples used have been minute in comparison to what we believe to be the scale of the real problem.
The Scottish Pensioners’ Forum introduced a questionnaire/survey which closed on 25th February 2019.
We have since submitted our findings and report to the Scottish Government which can be accessed here Violence in an Ageing Workforce
The final Scottish Government Framework can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website A Fairer Scotland for Older People: A Framework for Action