School’s soon out for summer and it has focused my attention on the next round of school and college leavers looking to enter the workforce. But while youth unemployment may remain stubbornly high, did you know that over the next 10 years there will be 13.5 million job vacancies but only seven million school and college leavers?

This statistic, courtesy of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, raises the question of where employers are going to find the extra 6.5 million people. According to a report just released by consultancy Talentsmoothie, they should be looking at the older worker.

Report author Justine James says older workers are the main untapped source of hidden labour talent. But The Ageing Workforce - What’s Your Strategy? finds that eight out of 10 organisations are not planning any policy changes to recruit, retain and engage older workers. “Talented and motivated mature workers have options. The over-50s have accounted for 85% of new business start-ups in the UK over the past two years. Without investment in finding out what interests and inspires this population, this valuable resource might walk out of the door,” James says.

Her research finds 60% of baby boomers do not want to retire, with nearly seven in 10 hoping to continue working where they are now and 18% hoping to combine charitable work with paid work. Yet 55% of employers surveyed say they don’t talk about retirement with employees while employees say this is more like 80% in practice.

GSK is one company that does. Employees can take their pension from 55 and carry on working more flexibly. This allows space for new talent, the company benefits from deep knowledge and experienced, motivated employees while employees can fulfil their external commitments and maintain their lifestyles. Surely a win-win?

Research from legal firm Eversheds finds nearly half of employers would like the default retirement age re-established. These should instead face up to the ‘R’ word and begin positive discussions with ageing workers.

Talking of retiring, this is my last column for The Grocer as I am stepping into a new role. Over the years I have noticed the food and drink industry taking a leading role in many HR issues. So keep up the great work, and I wish you a profitable summer.

Siân Harrington is editor of HR magazine