Largest number of over-50s in work since records began

New figures show that the over-50s are making their biggest contribution to the UK workforce since records began.

The research by Aviva shows that almost a third of adults employed during Q1 and Q2 2015 were aged 50 and over (an increase of 42% since 1992) with the total number of 50-64s in work reaching a new high of 8.24m.

The rise has largely been attributed to the abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) in 2011, meaning employers could no longer force their staff to retire at 65 based on their age alone. It was welcomed news for older workers, with many people still having mortgages to pay at 65 and beyond, whilst others simply aren’t ready to give up work yet.

A change in demographics has also contributed to the increase in the number of over-50s in employment. The baby boomer generation are all over 50 now, and people are generally living longer than before.

The figures demonstrate great things for the UK economy. A government backed report from earlier this year indicated that more older people in employment means more jobs for younger workers too. The theory goes that as older workers have more money to spend, their money boosts the economy and goes on to create more jobs for everyone.

% employment growth since Q3 2011 Actual employment growth since Q3 2011 Total number employed in Q2 2011
50-64 11% 788,178 8,239,340
65+ 33% 285,163 1,140,240
All ages 6% 1,757,200 31,034,658

The data also indicates that remaining in employment has become more important to people’s sense of financial security in later life, with 11% of 55 – 64 year olds seeing retirement as a threat to their living standards.

Geoff Charles, CEO of Bower said: “It’s fantastic to see such a positive change in these employment figures for older workers and it’s brilliant news for the UK economy. It concerns me, however, that 1 in 10 of the 55 – 64 year olds are worried about their standard of living in retirement.

“Not having satisfactory provisions in place for their retirement could mean many older workers will be forced to stay in employment long past their intended retirement age so they can pay the bills. Serious consideration of alternative financial options such as equity release may be necessary for those who cannot or do not wish to work much longer into later life.”

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