Over-50s falling out of the workplace as economic crisis bites

The number of over-50s in work has fallen for the first time in almost 30 years, as Britain prepares to enter a winter of job losses. 

As of June this year, 133,000 fewer over-50s were in jobs than in January, latest Government data shows. The percentage of this age group in work fell from 43.1pc to 42.5pc. This is the first time the employment rate among over-50s has dropped since 1993.

Alistair McQueen of Aviva, the insurer, said: “This data is a warning signal. It gives an early indication of what could be a damaging reversal in the number of older people in work after more than a quarter of a century of growth. This would be bad for individuals as they seek to fund their retirement, especially as the state pension age rises.”

He added that it would also be bad for the economy and would represent a huge loss of skill, experience and potential.

The drop in employment was even more pronounced among the over-65s. The percentage of this age group in work fell from a record 11.7pc to 10.4pc. 

Unemployment among older workers will only ramp up after the furlough scheme winds down at the end of October. 

This has been a lifeline for many and one in four (2.5 million) workers aged 50 and above is receiving some form of state-funded wage support.

As previously reported by this newspaper, around 377,000 of this age group could lose their jobs if predictions by the Office for Budget Responsibility – that 15pc of furloughed workers will be made unemployed after October – come true.

Separate research by the Financial Conduct Authority, the City regulator, found older workers have had to swallow larger pay cuts than any other age group since the start of the pandemic.

Pay for the over-55s has fallen 23pc on average, compared with 19pc and 17pc for millennials and middle-aged workers.  

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