Record number of over-50s in work

Record number of over-50s in work

A record number of over-50s are now part of the UK workforce, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

The ONS' latest UK labour market report showed the employment level for people aged 50 and over stood at slightly more than 10 million for the period from September to November 2018.

Just over nine million people aged 50 to 64 were in employment (up from 8.8 million between September and November 2017), while 1.2 million of those aged 65 and over were still in work (up from 1.1 million last year), according to the statistics.

This population now represented nearly one in three (31 per cent) of all workers in the UK, up from one in five (21 per cent) when the records began in 1992.

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: "They are record breakers. [Just over] ten million people is more than the populations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

"And as the state pension age for men and women is now rising, we can expect this population to keep growing," Mr McQueen added.

He warned employers must do more to support these people to achieve a fuller working life.

"We continue to see a collapse in employment participation as we progress through our 50s, from nearly nine in ten active in the labour market at age 50 to less than one in two as we approach our mid-60s. This represents a huge waste of talent, experience and potential."

Mr McQueen added that Aviva is investing in 'mid-life MOTs' for its workers aged 45 and over, designed to help people manage their work, wealth and wellbeing during the midway point in their lives.

He said it is also investing in apprenticeships for all ages, including those in their 60s.

Will Hale, chief executive at equity release broker Key, said: "Increasingly, we see customers working long past the traditional retirement age, through either desire or necessity. Financial planning and advice can help reduce the number of years someone may need to work before enjoying retirement, so we may see more reliance on this.

"The later life lending market is growing from strength to strength and is helping fund customers into their retirement.

"In 2018, we saw a record number of people taking out new equity release plans, an increase of 21 per cent year-on-year, enabling some to cut back on their working hours or retire completely from the working world and enjoy a relaxing later life," Mr Hale said.

The ONS figures also showed an estimated 32.53 million people were in work from September to November 2018, 141,000 more than for June to August 2018 and 328,000 more than a year earlier.

The employment rate - the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 years who were in work - was estimated at 75.8 per cent, slightly higher than a year earlier when it was 75.3 per cent and the highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.

There were an estimated 1.37 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), little changed from June to August 2018, but 68,000 fewer than for a year earlier.