State Pension  

State pension age drives employment growth

State pension age drives employment growth

UK employment reached 76.1 per cent in the first few months of 2019, the joint-highest since records began in 1971, according to Labour Market statistics. 

The number of men in employment between December 2018 and February 2019 reached 80.5 per cent, while the rate of women in employment for the period was 71.8 per cent. 

According to the Office for National Statistics, the increase in the employment rate for women in recent years was, in part, due to changes to the state pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between 60 and 65.

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From December 2018, the state pension age was scheduled to increase for both men and women, until it reaches 66 by October 2020. It is also planned to rise from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Meanwhile, unemployment in the UK for the period between December 2018 and February 2019 was 3.9 per cent and, according to the data has not been lower since the end of 1974 to early 1975. 

For women, the unemployment rate was 3.8 per cent, the joint-lowest since comparable records began in 1971. 

According to the Centre for Ageing Better, 9.2m of people aged 50-64 are now in employment, which represents 72.4 per cent of that age group. In 2010, just 65 per cent of those aged 50-64 were in employment. 

Emily Andrews, senior evidence manager at Centre for Ageing Better, said: "It's great that employment amongst over-50s is on the rise."

But she added: "For jobs to be fulfilling for older workers, employers need to be more age-friendly. That means we need to do more to reduce ageism in the workplace, make flexible working the default option and give more support to those with health conditions or caring responsibilities.

"And for those who aren’t in work, but want to be, we must make sure that employment support provided is tailored to the needs of older people. That means personalised support that’s right for peoples’ individual work skills, personal circumstances and health."

The UK Labour Market data also showed a rise in earnings estimates, which measures pay rises, reflects changes in the number of paid hours worked and changes in the structure of the workforce

For the period between December 2018 and February 2019, regular pay increased 3.4 per cent in nominal terms. When adjusted for inflation, this increase was 1.5 per cent in real terms. 

Total pay for the period increased 3.5 per cent in nominal terms and 1.6 per cent in real terms.