Data released by the ONS this morning shows that the employment rate (71.3%) for 50 to 64-year-olds is still yet to return to pre-pandemic levels (72.5% in 2019), although it has increased over the past year.
It also showed a decline in the number of older workers leaving their job to retire over the past year, perhaps evidence of the impact of the tough economic environment. This is added to by the fact that around 460,000 people aged 50 to 64 years who are economically inactive are willing to, or would like to, work.
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at retirement specialist Just Group, commented: “A recovery in employment among workers aged 50-64 seems to be slowly emerging with a small increase over the past year perhaps driven by the cost of living crisis causing more older workers to seek work to bolster their financial position both in the short-term and looking ahead to retirement.
“This can be seen in the decline of older workers who left their last job to retire falling from 37% in 2022 to 34% in 2023 as the ‘great unretirement’ seems to be picking up pace. It suggests people nearing retirement are keen to continue working to build up bigger pension savings and protect against financial threats like the rising cost of everyday living.
“There is clear potential to be harnessed among this generation of silver workers who bring significant experience to the workforce. Nearly half a million economically inactive older workers say they would like a job so evidently a keen and willing talent pool exists for employers.
“The slow recovery in employment for this age group is concerning because this is the time of life where people tend to focus on retirement planning and extra pension saving. If they are struggling to find jobs that will have a knock-on effect on both their own retirement plans and potentially mean more State support will be needed.”