Public sector recruitment crisis because of ageing workforce, says UNISON report.

thumbnail of Bargaining Briefing 87 ageing workforce

A new report from UNISON warns of a recruitment crisis in the public sector within the next decade because of an ageing workforce.

UNISON say that 40% of the public sector workforce are to retire in the next 10 years. This is after a decade of austerity in public services which has drastically reduced the workforce.

UNISON’s research investigated the age profiles of the workforce in public services across Scotland. It shows that the largest growing age band as a proportion of the workforce is the 50-60 age group, meaning that 40% of the public sector workforce is likely to retire in the next 10 years.

Local government has borne the brunt of austerity with 9 out of 10 jobs losses coming from the council, meaning very few new young workers have been recruited. The age profile is the same in Non Departmental Public Bodies with 40% of the workforce over 50. The age profile in the NHS has also increased.  University and colleges have the youngest workforce with 33% of workers over 50 years of age.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s head of public affairs said, “there are big issues to consider including the delivery of public services, sustainability of pension funds and health and safety at work.  And issues like training and skills development of older workers, and making sure they have options that support them continuing in the workforce like carers leave and part-time work.

We also must look at how we recruit a new younger workforce. The problem is few employers have a strategy for dealing with an ageing workforce or are even discussing the issue. Despite legislative changes there remains significant age discrimination. As a country, especially with Brexit, we need to start planning for the future.”



UNISON contacts

Dave Watson, head of policy and public affairs, 07958 122409

Danny Phillips, communications officer, 07944 664110