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Meet ‘The Reliables’: the UK’s older workers 

by on May 15, 2015

On this blog we pay attention to new labels that appear in the media relating to age groups so I was intrigued to see this item in The Express referring to older workers as the new Reliables. 

A survey by an insurance company has found that older workers have better attendance records and take fewer sick days than their younger colleagues. Those aged 50 and over are also much less likely to lie about being ill (‘throwing a sickie’, as it’s called) in order to get a day off than colleagues aged 20 to 39. I’m guessing that these survey results make the headlines because they confound a stereotype that older workers are more likely to take time off for ill-health than younger workers. 

MD of the insurance company describes older workers in the following terms: “They bring a wealth of experience, ambition and knowledge that cannot be underestimated. It is key that we understand that workers in their 50s and 60s are not old, they are hardworking and dedicated and, very much, want work.” This of course is a generalisation. It may very well describe some older workers. But it over-simplifies what is a complex situation with other older workers finding that their health and fitness is not up to the demands of manual labour and others finding that they want to retire but need to keep working for financial reasons. 

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