Altmann, formerly director-general of Saga, will work to ‘make the case’ for older workers within the business community and aims to challenge outdated perceptions.
The appointment was announced by pensions minister Steve Webb.
The appointment follows the release of the government’s policy paper, Fuller working lives.
Altmann said she was pleased the government has recognised the importance of encouraging people to continue working for longer, “rather than giving up before they need to” and claimed a “social revolution” was underway.
“I believe passionately in the value of staying in the labour market, ideally part-time in later life, and see this as an all-round positive development for society.
“This will bring benefits all round – to individuals, to business and to the economy as a whole. A big part of my role is to work with employers to understand the significant benefits of retaining and recruiting older workers.
“I am really proud to be taking on this new role and look forward to championing over 50s in the workplace,” she said.
Webb added: “Older workers have a huge amount to bring to any workforce and are a vast, untapped talent in the UK labour market. The business case is compelling and I am delighted that Ros will now be taking a lead in going out and making that case directly to the business community.”
Just under 3 million people aged between 50 and state pension age are out of work in the UK. The employment rate for this age group is about 60%, however other counties achieve 70%, the DWP said.
It said demographic changes present “major opportunities” for employers.
The government is pushing businesses to hire older staff as over the course of the next decade there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in the labour market.
Despite this there will be 3.7 million more people aged between 50 and state pension age.