Social revolution underway as millions more over 50s keep working
28 July, 2016
- Important new Statistical Series released today to track trends in later life working
- Massive increase in labour force participation for over 50s since the 1980s
- Older women show largest employment rise while proportion age 70-74 in work has doubled
- Rise in female participation pre-dates increase in state pension age
There is a social revolution underway, which can benefit millions of people in the UK, which is seeing increasing numbers of over 50s stay in work, continuing to increase their lifetime income, improving the productive potential of the economy and in many cases ensuring a better quality of life. As older men and women realise it is not beneficial to aspire to retire when still relatively young, the trends in employment among people over age 50 are striking.
The DWP has today released figures that will form a brand new data set for the future. They will track the trends in later life working and help us monitor how the world of work is developing for the over 50s. The new statistical series shows changes in employment trends for women and men since the 1980s.
Following my role as the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers and Pensions Minister, I have instigated continued statistical analysis of employment trends and engagement with business to help more people and employers benefit from the skills and experience of the more mature workforce that is on offer with an aging population. The statistics released today demonstrate the historical trends that have seen sharp increases in number of over 50s staying in work.
This is all part of a much wider exercise in encouraging people to keep working, if they can and if they want or need to, and encouraging employers to recognise the enormous value that older workers offer to their businesses.
People are not necessarily ‘old’, in a conventional sense, at age 50, 60 or 70 and are increasingly choosing to keep working. This can be good news for them, good for their employer and the economy too. It will boost their lifetime income and can also be better for their health and general wellbeing.
Of course, it is also true that some people cannot work longer, or feel forced to go on when they would rather stop, but this is the minority. Surveys that were part of my Business Champion for Older Workers report ‘A new vision for older workers – Retain Retrain Recruit’ showed that most people in their fifties want to keep working past their state pension age.
In 21st Century Britain, after all the successes in healthcare and working conditions, it makes sense to celebrate the increased employment of older people and to take advantage of the skills and talents of our aging population.