• There are now 3.6 million over 50s working part-time – an increase of 12% since 2021 and 56% since 2003
  • 25% of workers in their 50s are part-time, increasing to 40% of workers aged between 60 and 64 and 66% of workers aged over 65.
  • There are 781,000 people aged 66 and older who are working part-time – an increase of 18% since 2021. More than half (55%) of them are male.
  • 42% of the UK’s part-time workers are aged over 50*

The number of people aged 50 and older who are working part-time now stands at 3.6 million – a record high, according to new analysis from digital community and advocate for the over 50s, Rest Less.

Rest Less analysed data from the Office of National Statistics which shows the number of part-time and full-time workers by age bracket since the 1990s. Rest Less’s analysis found that the number of over 50s working part-time has increased by 12% in the past two years, by 26% in the past decade and by 56% in the past two decades.

Rest Less’s analysis also found that the number of people aged 66 and older (state pension age rose to 66 in 2020) working part-time has increased by 18% since 2021 from 661,000 in 2021 to 781,000 in 2023. Significantly more men aged 66 and older are now working part-time than women – 426,000 in 2023 and an increase of 22% on 2021 figures compared with 355,000 women – an increase of 14% compared with 2021 figures.

Chart 1: Part-time workers aged 50+, 2003-2023

Chart 2: Proportion of workers aged 50+ who are part-time by age band - 2023

Stuart Lewis, Chief Executive of Rest Less, commented on the findings: “The number of part-time workers aged over 50 has reached record levels once again in 2023, after recovering from its substantial setback during the pandemic. This trend highlights a paradigm shift in how we view work and retirement. Long gone are the days of the linear career path of one or two full-time roles, 9-5 for five decades followed by a sudden stop at retirement. Today the path is winding and offers more choice than ever before – both in career path and working patterns. Most midlifers today talk about ‘transitions’ rather than ‘stopping’, with many choosing more of a glide into retirement, than jumping off a cliff into the void – and research continues to show this phasing is beneficial for our health, social connections and overall well being.

“In the last few years, we have seen increasing numbers of progressive employers who understand the benefits of age diverse and multi-generational workplaces. In an ageing population where one third of the UKs workforce are now over 50, age inclusive policies are no longer a nice to have and offering flexible and part-time working arrangements are now an essential part of any employee value proposition. For many workers in their 50s, 60s and beyond, flexible part-time work is now a viable option which allows people to maintain an active, purposeful and connected midlife, whilst finding more time for other life responsibilities and enjoyment.”

Dr Emily Andrews, Deputy Director for Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Making part-time working more available is a great step for employers who want to realise the benefits of recruiting people in their 50s and 60s.

“Part-time jobs make the workplace more accessible to people with a caring responsibility or with certain health conditions – and makes work more appealing to people who are looking for more variety in their life in the latter part of their career.

“Unfortunately, at the moment, ‘part-time work’ too often means ‘poor quality work’.

“Increasing the number of decent, high-skill jobs available to part-time workers will be critical to improving UK productivity.

“Employers will be amazed by the kinds of candidates that come forward if they advertise their jobs with a minimum number of hours.

“And allowing people to reduce their hours can help keep good, experienced staff in the business when difficulties arise in their life.”


Notes to Editors
The data quoted throughout this press release is primarily based on this dataset.
*According to ONS data issued 12 September 2023, the number of part-time workers in May-July 2023 was 8,461,571

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About Rest Less
Rest Less (restless.co.uk) launched in early 2019 and is a digital community for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Rest Less is on a mission to help its members get more out of life and offers content guidance and resources on topics spanning Jobs and Careers, Volunteering, Learning, Money, Health and Lifestyle and Dating.