A report just published by the Office for National Statistics points out that, as the UK population gets older, an increasing number of workers are providing care towards the end of their working life for family members. One in four older female workers, and one in eight older male workers, have caring responsibilities.

This points out the need for flexible working arrangements for older employees. This provision is usually associated with parents trying to balance child care with their work priorities. This report shows that people in their 50’s and 60’s are most likely to be caring for their own parents and it is this group that will be expecting to be able to work flexibly.

The report concludes that an ageing population means that more older workers may need to take on caring responsibilities, particularly for a parent, in the future. Informal care providers are hugely important to the economy and society. Yet being a carer can come at great personal cost.

The report shows that working and caring can be combined. Currently, most of this care is provided by women. This is associated with women being more likely to work part-time as well as societal expectations of women as caregivers.

Employers will need to review their attitudes to older employees if they wish to keep the talent and experience they represent.