One million people over 50 who want to work suffer illness, dismissal or forced retirement
- One in 10 people between 50 and state pension age are involuntarily out of work
- They are expelled due to “shocks” – circumstances beyond their control.
More than a million people over the age of 50 are being forced out of work as they approach retirement, new research reveals.
Older people are leaving their jobs due to layoffs, health problems or because their employers force them to retire early, despite recent government efforts encouraging them to stay or return to address labor shortages.
Overall, almost one in ten people between 50 and state pension age are involuntarily out of work this year, according to a study by the International Longevity Center think tank and financial firm Aviva.
Many older people are out of work due to circumstances beyond their control, according to a new study
That equates to 1.15 million people aged 50 to 64, up from 1.02 million when the same study was conducted in 2014, although the ILC says the increase was driven by an increase in the number of older people.
People over 50 are believed to be pushed out of jobs due to “shocks” (circumstances beyond their control) due to an inability to support longer working lives.
The study of “involuntarily unemployed” older people is based on data from the Office for National Statistics and is part of a joint initiative by the ILC and Aviva to identify the changes needed to address an aging population.
They say: ‘Demographic change will create a shortfall of 2.6 million paid workers by 2030 and almost every sector of our economy faces skills shortages.
‘A decreasing proportion of us are between 18 and state pension age and an increasing number of us are over 66. So, despite not having a mandatory retirement age in the UK, we are still seeing a dramatic job exodus at state pension age. ‘
The state pension age for men and women is currently 66, and between 2026 and 2028 it will rise again to 67, but the timing of the next increase to 68 remains up in the air.
In 2028, the minimum retirement age to access the workplace and other private retirement savings will also increase, from 55 to 57 years.
David Sinclair, chief executive of the UK’s International Longevity Centre, says: “We need to make work more attractive and accessible to more people. And we need more than just headline-grabbing band-aid solutions to tackle poor physical health. and mental and get people back to work.
‘Work patterns are changing and so are our attitudes towards what is most important to our working lives. Technology has already made a huge difference in the world of work and will continue to do so. The question is whether we can take advantage of these changes to our advantage.
‘When we highlighted the ‘missing millions’ in our 2014 report, we called for action. But our latest analysis shows that while millions of people over 50 would like to work, they are still not getting the help they need to return to the workplace.’
Doug Brown, chief executive of Aviva UK & Ireland Life, says the latest report’s findings highlight the structural problems in recruiting and retaining workers over 50.
‘While the government announced a £70 million investment to help over-50s stay or return to work in its Spring 2023 Budget, employers have an important role to play in improving outcomes for this age group.
‘The good news is that there is momentum and support from UK employers. Our working life research found that in the last year, one in ten employers introduced support to retain employees over 50 for the first time.
“In addition, three-quarters of employers consider it important to retain employees over 50 and a third consider it very important.”
A government spokesperson says: ‘We are investing millions in employment and skills support for the over-50s, and this is already paying off with near-record payroll figures for this group of more than eight million.
“This includes mid-life MOT, intensive and tailored support for job seekers on Universal Credit and skills boot camps and is part of this Government’s wider campaign to halve inflation, grow the economy and put more money in people’s pockets.
The number of people between 50 and 64 years old on company payrolls reached a near-record high of 8.1 million in August, 14,000 more in the quarter and 389,000 more since February 2020.
The Government has told employers to play their part and that flexibility is essential if they are to make the most of the talent they have at their disposal across all ages.