This pushes the number of employees aged 50-plus to just over 9m. And a push to attract older staff back into the workforce post-Covid is behind the setting up of a £22m network of recruitment specialists across the UK.
There are now dedicated 50 PLUS Champions tasked with helping older workers back into the jobs market in 37 areas of England, Scotland and Wales.
McDonald’s is one of the first businesses to kick off a recruitment drive to hire more over-50s.
The fast-food giant is working with the Jobcentre and 50 PLUS Champion in Scunthorpe to fill vacancies.
It has launched fresh recruitment campaigns targeting older workers, with adverts posted by McDonald’s showing a grey-haired worker who “isn’t the retiring type” enjoying a job with the chain.
Photographs of over-50s are also being used to advertise jobs at one of the UK’s largest insurers as part of a wider fightback against age bias.
Major employers including Co-op, Boots and Barclays have also moved to create a more silver-haired workforce.
Phoenix Group, whose boss Andy Briggs was made the Government’s business champion for older workers in 2017, said “if Britain hires an extra 1m staff aged 50 to 69 by 2022 then GDP could be boosted by £88bn.”
“Employers who are struggling to recruit are missing out on the skills and experience of those who are leaving the workforce early,” he said.
“It’s especially concerning given the backdrop of increasing economic and political uncertainty and rising cost of living in the UK.
“We are living longer lives than previous generations which means that in general, we will need to support ourselves financially for longer too.
“It’s important employers and the government consider what more can be done to help people stay in work for longer if they wish to keep working.”
However, in September last year, there were 180,000 fewer over-50s in work than before the pandemic, data from the Office for National Stational Statistics showed.
As many as 362,000 over-50s were unemployed and 3.5m 50 to 60-year-olds were economically inactive.
Minister for Employment, Guy Opperman MP, said: “Older workers are a huge asset to our country and our economy. I want to support them to get into work.
“An age-inclusive workforce makes business sense too. Our 50 PLUS Champions will work with leading employers across the country to connect job-ready people with the vast number of opportunities out there.”
The Department of Work and Pensions has also introduced the Jobcentre Mid-Life MOT service which supports the middle-aged to consider their financial future.
McDonalds has rolled out the scheme to all staff aged 45-plus.
A spokesman for McDonald’s said: “We are exceptionally proud of our inclusive and diverse workforce, and our latest recruitment campaign reflects that.
“We have a long history of employing older workers, who are an integral part of our restaurant teams across the UK & Ireland.”
To mark National Older Workers Week, launching on Monday, the DWP is organising jobs fairs across the country, including at Hackney Jobcentre Plus in London on Tuesday, specifically targeted at over 50s jobseekers.