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Ageing workforce serious threat to business

6th April 2009

A report by Bupa has warned that businesses in the UK will face a severe threat from the "ageing workforce" by 2030.

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The healthcare company estimated that increased rates of chronic illness in employees will grow by a minimum of 7% to over four million.

The report, which was compiled with The Work Foundation, The Oxford Health Alliance and RAND Europe, looked at 200 studies to find out how British employees' health would alter by 2030.

The research estimated that an employee's average age would be 43 and the average age a person would retire at would be 68 by 2050.

The number of people affected by musculoskeletal disease would increase by 8% to more than seven million people and one million workers would suffer from heart disease, at an increase of 11%.

The number of workers affected by chronic diseases - such as diabetes and asthma -  were estimated to rise considerably. The number of people with mental illness was expected to increase by 5% to 4.2 million.

According to a review by Dame Carol Black in 2008, illness in workers costs Britain more than £100bn a year.

Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald, of Bupa UK Health Insurance, said: "For the first time, we have a clear picture of the major health issues that will affect British workers over the next 20 years."

"Our report provides British businesses with an early warning of how the health needs of workers will change and, importantly, it gives them time to take action to keep their employees healthy, productive and at work. The commercial benefits of taking action on workplace health are clear as healthy employees can be nearly three times more productive than those in poor health."

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