Nearly 4 million older workers feel discriminated against at work due to their age

Flexi-working, more part-time opportunities and anti-age discrimination policies cited as the top measures to attract an older workforce

New research from Canada Life1 reveals nearly a fifth (19%) of workers aged 55 and over feel discriminated against in the workplace - this equates to over 3.9 million older workers.2

The findings come as nearly two fifths (37%) of over 55s now expect to work beyond their state pension age (up from 33% last year). The research highlights the importance for employers to create a workplace where employees of all ages can thrive.

UK adults say that flexible working (80%) is the most important measure an employer can offer to support and attract an older workforce. This was closely followed by having more part-time opportunities (78%) and anti-age discrimination policies (77%). A similar number feel that appropriate workplace benefits (76%) would help retain an ageing workforce while 75% are looking for new skills training.

Employees are also looking for more from their employer in terms of the protection products and services they offer. When thinking about working beyond their state pension age, employees likely to do so said income protection was the top product they’d like (40%), followed by critical illness cover (39%) and life insurance (36%).

Dan Crook, Protection Sales Director, Canada Life, comments:

“The UK economy is facing a significant labour shortage due in part to the ‘silver exodus’ from workplaces. However, as some of these people think about un-retiring, this presents a significant opportunity for employers. Not only to focus on attraction and retention, but to entice older workers back into the workforce, creating diversity of thought and age.

“Now more than ever, employers must think carefully about how they can create and nurture a healthy and happy workforce, introducing benefits to suit a wide variety of circumstances and needs. Employing a mixture of workers of all ages will not only create an environment in which employees can share experiences and skills, but it will also bring a broad range of perspectives to the table.”


Notes to editors

  1. Survey conducted by Opinium among 2000 UK adults between 21 - 25 October 2022.
  2. This figure has been calculated using ONS population stats of adults aged 18+ in the UK.


Press enquiries should be directed to:

Amelia Graham, Vested, 07393 477057,

Paul Keeble, Canada Life, 07833 085387,

About Canada Life:

Canada Life is part of a group of companies controlled by Great-West Lifeco Inc., a diversified financial services holding company headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada. Through its subsidiary companies, Lifeco has operations in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Great-West Lifeco and its insurance subsidiaries have received strong ratings from major rating agencies.  Great-West Lifeco has over 30 million customers worldwide and £1.341 trillion assets under administration (as at 31.12.21).

Canada Life Limited began operations in the United Kingdom in 1903 and looks after the retirement, investment and protection needs of individuals and companies alike. As well as providing stability and security through its individual contracts, Canada Life Limited has grown to become the leading provider of competitively priced group insurance solutions.

Canada Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England and Wales no. 973271. Registered office: Canada Life Place, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire EN6 5BA. Canada Life Platform Limited, trading as Canada Life, is a subsidiary of The Canada Life Group (UK) Limited, and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales no. 8395855. Registered office: Canada Life Place, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire EN6 5BA.