BITC plea for more protection for younger and older workers on Job Retention Scheme

The government’s latest Job Retention Scheme statistics, released today, showed that young people aged 17 to 29 were the most likely of all ages to be furloughed. This piles evidence onto concerns for young people’s employment and wellbeing as a result of COVID-19.

Anne Willmot, age campaign director at Business in the Community, said: “Young people are being locked out of employment at the start of their careers – a key time for them to gain experience, learning and development in the workplace.

“Older workers are also overrepresented in today’s furlough statistics with numbers increasing after the age of 55 and, having lost their jobs, older workers frequently face age bias when they apply for jobs. The danger is that many will then face many years before they can draw their state pension or will be forced to access their company pension earlier – leading to a big hit in their standard of living both now and in later life.

“Business and government must now do everything they can to reverse this damage and improve employment prospects and experiences for both young people and older workers. This includes strengthening the government’s opportunity guarantee for young people to provide stronger incentives to employers and ensure clear ways into paid work and introduce specific new measures to help older workers back into work. This will help to prevent long-term scarring to people’s careers and life prospects.

“Employers should monitor age in any furlough and redundancy plans and ensure that restructures do not remove too many roles that provide a talent pipeline into their organisation. Traineeships, apprenticeships and entry-level roles for people of all ages must be created where possible. All employers should be supporting workers of all ages to develop the essential skills they need to increase employability, job mobility and resilience in an increasingly difficult job market.”

Business in the Community has produced two factsheets to support employers on employment issues:


Notes to editors

  • To find out more, contact Cathy Beveridge, Media and External Affairs Manager, Business in the Community on 07776 181945 or

About Business in the Community
Business in the Community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow
  • build thriving communities where people want to live and work
  • innovate to sustain and repair our planet.