action to increase the opportunities for older people in the labour
market, as a key aspect of 'Opportunity for All'.
University of Oxford, Mr Smith said: 'I firmly believe that the
challenge for this decade is to extend more opportunities for older
people in the workforce - much as youth unemployment was the
challenge for the last. We need to tackle the barriers which hold
back older workers who would like to stay in the workforce.
'It's good for individuals, it's good for the economy and it's good
'The bald facts of demographics are compelling - as we are living
longer, and we all want a good standard of living in retirement, we
either have to save more, or work longer, or a mixture of both -
there is a remorseless arithmetic at work.
'We need to change our attitudes, thinking and approach to older
people in the workforce. We should be looking to open doors, not
Mr Smith highlighted government actions in helping older workers back
- The number of people aged 50 or over in work has increased by
900,000 since 1997
- The success of New Deal 50 plus and New Deal for Disabled People in
providing tailored help to support older workers back into work
- Work through the Age Positive campaign to highlight benefits of an
age diverse workforce
Mr Smith emphasised his view that more needs to be done to help
people downshift into retirement and end the cliff edge between work
and retirement. He said these issues would be addressed in the
forthcoming green paper on pensions due out this autumn.