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The over 65s in work: the latest statistics

by on August 25, 2016

Lots of articles over the last few weeks relating to employment amongst those aged over 65 (here’s the CIPD take on this). It’s an interesting area given the relatively recent abolition of mandatory retirement (DRA) in the UK that used to kick in at that age (for men, at least – the age for women has been changing upwards and for different cohorts at different times).

The Department for Work & Pensions issued figures from the ONS that showed that in 2015, there were over 1.1 million individuals aged 65+ employed, an employment rate of 10.2% which is apparently more than double the rate in 2001 (4.9%). This was reported under the headline “We’re not quitting yethere in the Daily Mail which attributed this to growing life expectancy, shrinking pension pots and evidence of something they call ‘British flexibility’ given that employers mostly can’t now insist on employees retiring at a particular age.

Our friends over at Lewis Silkin did some research on the impact of the abolition of the DRA a couple of years ago (here) and predicted that if the trend then idenfied continued, we could expect 1.2m over 65s in employment by July 2015, and 1.3m by August 2016. So the actual figures for 2015 are slightly lower, suggesting the trend has how slowed somewhat. This could be for many reasons of course, including wider economic conditions affecting the labour market.

Also of note are the statistics which show that 69% of those aged 50-64 were in work. Whilst this is apparently the highest on record, suggesting that early retirement is on the decline, what about the rest of those in this age group? One of the commenters (Wendy) on the CIPD site says: “I think that it is concerning that nearly a third of people aged 50 – 64 are not in employment of any kind. Many are not due their state pensions for a good number of years and are keen to find work. Often they not even appear on the radar (government statistics) as job-seekers because they do not qualify for allowances. What (if anything) is being done to encourage their recruitment into the workforce?”

More detailed analysis here on the Professional Adviser website including breakdown by gender, as well as some opinions from those working in the pensions industry (who rarely miss an opportunity to comment on this topic!).

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