Working over 65s ‘close to 2million by 2022’

Posted on: 18 June 2012 by Gareth Hargreaves

Sixty one percent of those working beyond State Pension Age are older women.

Workers over 65The number of people working after they start collecting their pensions could rise beyond the two million mark within the next 10 years.

Office of National Statistics figures show that 1.4 million pensioners, 12% of the elderly population, are taking on work to supplement their income.

Increasing longevity and the need to boost retirement income has driven many back to work  ... and of these 61% are older women.

Financial advisers Primetime Retirement claim that if this trend continues the numbers working past 65 will more than double from the current 870,000* hitting 1.83 million or around 6% of the total UK workforce by 2022.

The latest figures show growth in the number of over-65s working full-time was slightly higher at 20% than the 19% in those working part-time – however part-time workers were more than double the number of full-time employees. And changes in State Pension Age – which will rise to 66 between November 2018 and October 2020 – will further increase the numbers working past 65.

However, in spite of tough economic conditions, evidence that older workers are utilising their years of professional experience is shown in self-employment figures: in the last quarter of 2011, 32% of workers above state pension age were working for themselves, compared with only 13% of those below retirement age.

Mintel research has also shown that fewer people are stopping work when they reach State Pension age. New figures reveal fewer than one third retires at retirement age.

Of the 1.4 million older workers above state pension age in the UK in the final quarter of 2011, 39 per cent were men and 61 per cent were women. However, around two-thirds of these men worked in jobs classed as higher skilled, but almost two-thirds of these women worked in lower skilled jobs. The higher skilled roles that men carried out included those such as property managers, marketing and sales directors, production managers and chief executives of organisations. Of all the jobs carried out by men, the two most common were farmers and taxi drivers. Looking at women, the most common job was cleaners, followed by administration assistants, care workers and retail assistants.

Around two-thirds of those in work after reaching the age of 65 have been with their current employer for ten years or more, analysis shows.

Men are more likely than women to work full-time past State Pension Age, research shows. Around 4.6% of men work full-time while 7.3% work part-time compared with 3.6% of women working full-time and 8.9% working part-time.

Baroness Greengross, chief executive of the international Longevity Centre UK, comments on the work pressures facing older women: ' While many factors have influenced this near doubling of the number working beyond retirement age since 1993, a principal one, along with improved health and wellbeing, must be increasing financial pressures. While some people may choose to continue in employment because they enjoy their work and want to keep being involved, many, particularly women,  are forced to work on because, through poor pension provision, they won't have enough to live on if they retire. With half the workforce not saving into a pension, this is going to become a painful reality for many, who may never be able to afford to retire if they want a reasonable income. The need for sound information and advice about pension saving, both before and at retirement, is greater than ever and I urge the Government to invest more in this form of consumer financial education.'

Whether through choice or financial necessity more older people are remaining in the work place longer. And as more people reach the state retirement age without adequate provision for their later years the importance of supplementing income will be greater still. 

The Government plans to align the state pension age (SPA) for women and men from 2018 before increasing to 66 for both sexes in October 2020, and to 67 by 2028. It has also been announced that the government plans to introduce an 'automatic mechanism' to link state pension age to life expectancy, with details of how the scheme will operate due to be published shortly.

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