Large increase in over 65-year-olds in work, study suggests

There were 457,000 workers aged 65 and above in the year 2000, rising to 1.43 million workers now, the study showed.

Jabed Ahmed
Monday 30 October 2023 07:13 GMT

The number of over 65-year-olds in work has increased significantly in recent years, as more people stay in employment beyond state pension age, new study suggests.

More than one in nine of the age group are now working past their 65th birthday, compared to one in 20 working in 2000, according to research by the Centre for Ageing Better.

Workers aged 65 and over are mainly self-employed and working part-time, but there is a growing number continuing in full-time employment up to and beyond the state pension age.

There were 457,000 workers aged 65 and above in the year 2000, rising to 1.43 million workers now, the study showed.

These new figures come following the revelation that three in 10 adults currently struggle to feed their families, with the lowest paid skipping meals and having to rely on food banks amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The average rent across the UK has also reached record highs of £1,278 per month, according to Rightmove.

Workers on the lowest pay have been hit hardest by higher food, rent and energy costs because they spend a greater proportion of their income on these necessities, a study from the Living Wage Foundation said.

Dr Karen Hancock, research and policy officer at the Centre for Ageing Better, pointed to the positive benefits of older people remaining in work, particularly the importance of filling labour shortages and increasing employment rates.

She said: “These figures show once again the ever-growing importance of older workers to the economy in filling labour and skills shortages.

“Around half of the substantial growth in numbers of 65+ workers since 2000 is down to demographics and the growth in the older population.

“The raising of the state pension age for men and women has also been a factor in increasing employment rates. Moving the goalposts on planned retirement dates may have compelled some to continue working into their late 60s to help their financial situation.

“But the increase also includes a growth in older workers who feel well enough to continue working and who want to continue reaping the financial and wellbeing benefits of remaining in work.”

Almost 80,000 workers in the older age group were employed on zero-hours contracts this year, the report said, adding: “Working past state pension age is becoming increasingly common, but it should be a choice.”

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