The vast majority of the UK’s employment growth over the last year was fuelled by the over 50s, according to new research from Rest Less, a jobs, volunteering and advice site for the over 50s.
The analysis from Rest Less, based on the latest data from the Office of National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey, highlights that there were 369,000 more workers in the UK in May to July compared with the same period in 2018. Of these:
- 303,000 – or 82% of the growth – were over the age of 50
- 244,000 – or 66% of the growth – were aged between 50 and 64
- 59,000 – or 16% of the growth – were aged over 65
- 196,000 – or over half of all UK employment growth (53%) came from women aged over 50
The employment rate of those aged between 50 and 64 simultaneously reached its highest level since comparable records began. This growth is being driven in particular by women over 50 who are responsible for over half of the growth in UK employment over the last year. There are now over 5 million women aged over 50 in the UK workforce, an increase of 1.4 million or 39% in a decade.
Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented:
“Our analysis shows that today’s over 50s continue to be the unsung heroes of the UKs economic growth, making up an ever dominant part of overall employment growth in the UK.
“A large part of the employment growth has been driven by increases to the state pension age, and in particular the rapid equalisation of the state pension age, which has forced many women in their 60s to either continue working, or have to find new employment.
“We are also seeing growing numbers of individuals who are choosing to continue working for their love of the job, or for the many health and/or social benefits that fulfilling employment can bring.”
Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager (Fulfilling Work) at the Centre for Ageing Better, commented:
“These are striking figures which reinforce the importance of older workers to today’s employers. Our analysis shows the number of women working in their 50s and 60s has been a particular factor, rising by 75% in just 20 years.
“For some this is through choice, for others it is as a result of the rising State Pension age and the need to work for longer. Whatever people’s reasons for working for longer, employers need to ensure that they support this increasingly important part of the workforce.
“Employers can provide support to manage health conditions and caring responsibilities, offer flexible working for every job, and promote career development at all ages. Providing this support will benefit every worker, whatever their age.”