40% of the UK’s Part-Time Workforce Is Over the Age of 50

New data from Rest Less shows that there are 3.4 million over 50s working part-time today, an increase of 912,000 in a decade .

The UK’s part-time workforce today is being driven by the over 50s more than any other age group, according to new analysis from Rest Less, a jobs, volunteering and advice site for the over 50s.

In bespoke data provided to Rest Less by the Office for National Statistics*, Rest Less’s analysis found that of the 8.6 million part-time workers in the UK today, 3.4 million of them are over 50 – an increase of 912,000, or 37% in a decade. By way of comparison, today there are only 2.0 million under 30s working part-time and 3.2 million 30 to 49 year olds (Table 1).

Ten years ago, it was the younger audience of 30 to 49 year olds driving part-time work at 41 percent (3.1 million) of all part-time employees, followed by the over 50s at 33 percent (2.5 million) and under 30s at 26 per cent (2 million).

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “Whilst part-time work has historically been associated with students and those seeking flexible working to start families, today it has become an increasingly popular choice for older workers who are shunning the idea of a ‘cold turkey’ retirement in favour of a gradual shift via a part-time working week instead.

‘Our analysis has shown that part-time work is growing in popularity amongst those in their 50s, 60s and 70s. This is due to a number of factors. With ever increasing life expectancy, we are having to fund longer retirements and many are choosing to top up their pension pots whilst they still can. Additionally, rises to the state pension age and the rapid equalisation of the women’s state pension age have meant that many more are having to continue working for longer. Importantly however, there is also a growing understanding of the many health and social benefits that come with working into retirement such as staying active, socially connected and maintaining a sense of fulfillment.

‘With generational lows in the unemployment rate, the over 50s offer an exciting, talented and up to now largely untapped opportunity to many employers who are struggling to plug a skills and jobs gap.”

The Rest Less analysis also found:

  • 74% of all part-time workers in the UK are female (6.3 million)
  • 19% of part-time workers are over the age of 60 (1.6 million)
  • 28% of all part-time workers are women over the age of 50 (2.4 million)
    There are more than 34,000 people aged 80 or over who are working part-time

Table 1: Part-Time Workers in the UK in 2009 and 2019

2009 2019
Age Groups Number % of All PT Workers Number % of All PT Workers
Male 16-29 710,846 9.38 715,250 8.36
30-39 190,654 2.52 223,685 2.61
40-49 185,429 2.45 245,275 2.87
50-59 243,496 3.21 348,639 4.07
60-69 393,325 5.19 481,657 5.63
70-79 89,702 1.18 188,769 2.21
80 and over 10,375 0.14 20,671 0.24
Under 30s 710,846 9.38 715,250 8.36
30-49 376,083 4.96 468,960 5.48
Over 50s 736,898 9.73 1,039,736 12.15
TOTAL MALE 1,823,827 24.07 2,223,946 25.98
2009 2019
Age Groups Number % of All PT Workers Number % of All PT Workers
Female 16-29 1,245,465 16.44 1,271,938 14.86
30-39 1,217,623 16.07 1,359,654 15.88
40-49 1,533,880 20.25 1,341,117 15.67
50-59 1,116,553 14.74 1,431,276 16.72
60-69 571,888 7.55 789,630 9.22
70-79 64,069 0.85 129,500 1.51
80 and over 2,333 0.03 13,531 0.16
Under 30s 1,245,465 16.44 1,271,938 14.86
30-49 2,751,503 36.32 2,700,771 31.55
Over 50s 1,754,843 23.16 2,363,937 27.61
TOTAL FEMALE 5,751,811 75.93 6,336,646 74.02
2009 2019
Age Groups Number % of All PT Workers Number % of All PT Workers
M+F Combined 16-29 1,956,311 25.82 1,987,188 23.21
30-39 1,408,277 18.59 1,583,339 18.5
40-49 1,719,309 22.7 1,586,392 18.53
50-59 1,360,049 17.95 1,779,915 20.79
60-69 965,213 12.74 1,271,287 14.85
70-79 153,771 2.03 318,269 3.72
80 and over 12,708 0.17 34,202 0.4
Under 30s 1,956,311 25.82 1,987,188 23.21
30-49 3,127,586 41.28 3,169,731 37.03
Over 50s 2,491,741 32.89 3,403,673 39.76
TOTAL PT WORKERS 7,575,638 100 8,560,592 100

Case Studies available on request

Notes to Editors
*The data is based on the period of January – March in 2009 and 2019. Please note that the data is not Seasonally Adjusted.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Aisling Gray
PR Lead, Rest Less
Phone: 07900996065
Email: [email protected]

About Rest Less

Rest Less (restless.co.uk) launched in October 2018 and is a membership community for the over 50s designed to help its members get more out of life. Rest Less has thousands of jobs available on its site from progressive age-friendly employers across the country. Rest Less is the only site in the UK to offer flexible opportunities to work, volunteer or even start a new career path, specifically targeting the rapidly growing over 50s market.

Good luck with your application

Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get free job alerts and inspiring content sent straight to your inbox.
By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.