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Home Business Support needed to halt over 50s workplace exit

Support needed to halt over 50s workplace exit

by Uma
iStock 1057509614


  • From mid-90s to the beginning of the pandemic the employment rate for people aged 50-64 had increased from 57.2% to 72.5%.
  • However, by 2022 this employment rate had fallen to 70.7%.
  • Being sick, injured or disabled continues to be the main reason why this group is economically inactive, although retirement is close behind.
  • Nearly 760,000 people aged between 50 and 64 years are either actively seeking work or are inactive but are willing or would like to work, a fall from 810,000 in 2021.
  • According to the ONS, between May 2021 and May 2022, the number of payrolled employees aged 50 to 64 increased by 190,000 to 8.0 million.
  • The number of employees aged 65 and over increased by 55,000 to 1.1 million.

The DWP has published data on the labour market status of people aged 50 and over Economic labour market status of individuals aged 50 and over, trends over time: September 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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

“The pandemic has delivered a real blow to the employment prospects of older workers. After years of growth the 50-plus age group saw the largest increase in inactivity of any other age group with many choosing to retire after being furloughed or made redundant. Hopefully, this decrease is a short-term blip as their exit from the workforce leaves a huge gap.

Retirement was a key reason for choosing to exit the workforce for the over 60s but it’s also worth saying that for the over 50s stress was a key factor, as was the need for some kind of lifestyle change. However, it is clear there are still many who want to remain or return to the workforce with over 760,000 saying they are willing to work.

Someone in their 50s potentially has many years ahead of them when they could be making a huge contribution – they should not feel they don’t have anything to offer or that employment doors are closed to them because of their age. It is important that those willing and able to work are given the support they need to do so whether that be help with re-skilling or increased access to flexible working. Recent studies have shown making provisions such as helping people fit work around caring responsibilities or the ability to work from home can do much to tempt people back to work.

The current cost-of-living crisis will also have an impact on this group. There could be many who chose to retire who now find their pensions do not stretch far enough and so need to return to the workforce to top up their savings. Providing support to help these workers back into employment will be increasingly important over the coming months.”