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Home Opinion Over half of older workers consider return to work after pandemic slump

Over half of older workers consider return to work after pandemic slump

by uma


  • Over one-third of those aged 50-65 who left work during the pandemic and not returned have retired.
  • This reason was given by 48% of those aged 60-65, one third of those between 55-59 and around 1 in 10 (9%) of those aged 50 to 54 years.
  • Those aged 50 to 54 years were more likely to leave work due to stress (19%), redundancy (19%) or not feeling supported in their job (17%).
  • Well over half (58%) of adults aged 50 to 65 years would consider returning to work.
  • The most important factors when choosing a paid job were flexible working hours (32%), good pay (23%), and being able to work from home (12%).
  • Almost half (49%) use a private pension to fund their time out of work or retirement. This increases to 66% of those aged 60 years and over.
  • 61% of 60-65 years olds said they are unlikely to rely on paid work in retirement compared with 27% of those aged 50 to 54 years.

Today the ONS has released Reasons for workers aged over 50 years leaving employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – Office for National Statistics

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

“After years of growth the pandemic saw a slump in the number of older workers with many being made redundant or deciding to retire early. Long-term ill health has also been a major contributing factor to the exodus of older workers. However, there is clearly huge demand to return, particularly among the younger 50-55 age group who are less likely to be mortgage-free and may well have other debts to service. It is vital they are given the support needed to re-enter the job market.

Last week’s mini-budget pledged support to help the over 50s back into work. We await more detail on these plans, but this data shows that particularly those at the younger end are more willing to re-skill and upgrade their skills if it helps their job prospects. They could play a huge role in filling the many job vacancies that remain unfilled.

The need for more flexibility is also evident in that increased use of flexible working and the ability to work from home were key factors that would tempt people back to work. This not only helps people balance their work and home commitments more effectively, it could also help reduce the high levels of stress that led many workers aged between 50-55 to leave work in search of a better lifestyle.

Workers aged between 60-65 are less likely to want to return – this is because they are more likely to be mortgage free and they have pension savings they can draw on. More than half (55%) of those aged 60 to 65 years were confident or very confident that their retirement provisions would meet their needs, compared with just over one-third (38%) of those aged 50 to 54 years.

However, as the cost of living continues to sky-rocket many older workers could find their budgets become increasingly stretched and that they need to go back to work, even if only for a relatively short time, to help them balance their budgets and improve their overall financial resilience.”