A million unemployed people over the age of 50 could be in jobs if industry and government shelved 'ageist attitudes', according to Age Concern.
Older people need to be coaxed back into work, Age Concern said.
Up to £30bn could be added to the UK economy if people over 50 were brought into the workforce, the charity said.
To ease older people back into work Age Concern said the government should scrap mandatory retirement ages.
In addition, Age Concern said the government should extend its New Deal employment program to the over-50's.
Age Concern said it wanted to challenge the view that people over the age of 50 were a burden to the UK economy.
"It is high time we lost our ageist attitudes, not our older workers," said Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern.