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Involuntarily jobless must be helped: report

Almost 1m people aged between 50 and 64 have been made “involuntarily jobless” through a combination of redundancy, ill health and early retirement, a report has claimed.

The 47-page report, The Missing Million: Illuminating the Employment Challenges of the over 50s, claimed that more people over the age of 50 were involuntarily pushed out of work than any other age group.

The report, released by The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise, Business in the Community and the International Longevity Centre, warned that flexible working options, tax incentives for employers and outreach programmes should be used to keep this demographic working.

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CountryEmployment rate for individuals aged 55-64Unemployment rate for individuals aged 55-64Activity rate for individuals aged 55-64
Sweden73.6%5.1%77.5%
Switzerland71.7%3%73.9%
Norway71.1%1.3%72%
Germany63.5%5.8%67.4%
Estonia62.6%6%66.6%
Denmark61.7%5.1%65%
Netherlands60.1%6.3%64.1%
UK59.8%4.8%62.8%

Source: Eurostat

Stephen Howard, chief executive of charity Business in the Community, said: “We have created a silent majority, where millions of over 50s are not working and are not receiving the help they need.”

He added: “Our research shows that employing older people does not mean that younger people are crowded out of the labour market and that there is room in our labour market for a diverse, intergenerational workforce.”

According to the report, 3.3m of the 11.6m people aged between 50 and 64 in the UK were not seeking work and therefore classed as economically inactive, with another 347,000 unemployed.

The authors of the report also estimated that approximately 1.2m people older than 50 “would be willing to work if the right opportunity arose”.