A campaign has been launched to encourage businesses to recruit and cherish older workers.
The county’s ageing population means that employers will find it harder and harder to fill job vacancies.
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce said one solution was to persuade older employees to stay in work longer, rather than put their feet up in retirement.
Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “The working-age population across the UK is growing but in Cumbria it’s shrinking. It is projected to fall from 250,000 today to just over 230,000 by 2030.
“But demand is rising. Potentially, the number of jobs available in Cumbria could have risen to 270,000 by then, more if Moorside nuclear power station goes ahead.
“That poses a real headache for businesses looking to recruit. There simply won’t be the people out there to fill vacancies.
“It’s imperative that we do all we can to encourage older workers to stay in employment for as long as possible.
“That requires a change of mindset.
“Employers will have to tackle age bias and be more flexible, perhaps allowing older employees to work part-time if they want to and to support them through later-life transitions such as caring for family members.”
Across the UK, half of all adults will be over 50 by 2030. But in parts of Cumbria the proportion will be higher still, around 56 per cent in South Lakeland and 55 per cent in Eden.
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is publicising an older workers’ toolkit for employers, plus a video and podcast.
Mr Johnston added: “There are business benefits to having an age-diverse workforce. Older workers have experience and maturity, which can be invaluable.
“And different generations have different ways of making sense of the world and therefore different ways of approaching problems and decisions. Businesses can benefit from that.”
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