More U.K. employees over 50 in job market: Study

Significant increase also seen in retirement-age workers
||Last Updated: 07/15/2011

The last 20 years have seen a significant increase in the proportion of people over 50 as well as those who have reached retirement age (65) in the labour force, according to a study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the United Kingdom.

Age and Gender: What has changed in the labour market in recent years finds that 56.5 per cent of people between ages 50 and 64 were employed in April 1992. This rose to 64.9 per cent by December 2010.

Over the same period, the proportion of those aged 65 and over in the workforce rose from 5.5 per cent to nine per cent. This is a significant increase for retirement-age workers, who now make up a bigger share of the total working population, said TUC.

Young people have become less likely to be in employment over the same period — mainly because of the expansion of education, but also as young people have been hit hard by the recession, found the study.

In April 1992, 48.8 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds were employed, but that figure had dropped to around 23.6 per cent by December 2010. Around two in three (65.8 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds were working in April 1992, but this fell to around 58 per cent by the end of 2010.

The proportion of prime age workers (those aged 25 to 49) has remained steady, despite the recession, found the study.

“Older people bring a wealth of skills and experience to the workplace. The increasing number of over 65s in work shows that older workers are highly valued and that the government is absolutely right to scrap the default retirement age,” said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

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