Quarter of a million over-50s ‘will never work again’ after coronavirus

Linda J. Dodson

A key problem for older job seekers is that training schemes and apprenticeships tend to be geared towards younger people, the Centre for Ageing Better said.

Andy Briggs, the Government’s older workers tsar and chief executive of Phoenix Group, an insurer, said: “It’s also up to employers to clamp down on unconscious bias. If an older person reveals their age on a CV, they are much less likely to get the role.”

Older women in particular struggle to stay in jobs because many have to fit work around caring responsibilities, he added. One in four women over 50 years old provides informal care for a loved one, compared with one in eight men who are the same age, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Women are likely to be hardest hit. Nearly 40,000 women aged between 50 and 64 have dropped out of the workforce since the pandemic began, analysis of ONS data by jobs site Rest Less shows. At the same time, economic activity increased across all other age groups of working-age women. For men aged between 50 and 64, it increased by 3pc.

Stuart Lewis, of Rest Less, said: “In the last recession, women could retire at 60. Today, it is 66. Losing their job will force them into an early retirement many cannot afford.”

Dipping into savings and pensions will eat up funds quickly, particularly when stock markets are low.

Since March, the number of women over 50 claiming Universal Credit has jumped by 95pc, compared with 92pc among men of the same age group.

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