Involuntarily jobless must be helped, says report

Almost a million people aged between 50 and 64 are struggling to manage their finances after being made jobless through redundancy, ill health or 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 have been pushed out of work than any other age group.

The report, co-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, while financial advice would be needed to help them through the tough times.

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

Employment status rates for individuals aged 55-64

CountryEmployment rateUnemployment rate Activity rate

Source: Eurostat

Adviser view

Lorreine Kennedy, head of care fee advice for Hertfordshire-based Carematters, said advice for this section of society was crucial, adding: “It can be very difficult for people in that age group to get employment, but as far as I am concerned, these people have a great many skills.”