March 19, 2020

More British women aged 60–64 in work than not for the first time

More British women aged 60–64 in work than not for the first time

According to new analysis of data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are now more women aged 60–64 in the workforce than not, for the first time.

The number of women in this age group in work has increased by 51% since 2010. The increase in the number of men in the same age group is 13%. 

In 2010 the UK government introduced pension reforms to equalize the age at which women and men draw their state pension. At that time British men were eligible for their pension at 65, whilst women were eligible at 60. The reforms increased women’s pension age to 65 over the following eight years. Both men’s and women’s pension ages will now continue to rise to 67 by 2028.   

Experts believe the increase in work activity by women aged 60–64 could have profound implications for the economy and for women in later life. Supporting people aged 50 and over to remain in the workforce, for example, could add an additional 1.3% to GDP a year by 2040.

Patrick Thomson, program manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, says that while “[f]or many other women this will be a positive choice, with work providing financial independence, an opportunity to save for retirement, meaning and purpose,” for others it is the “culmination of inequalities that have built up over a lifetime, remaining in low-paid, insecure or poor quality work and delaying retirement through financial necessity.”

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, a jobs and volunteering site for the over-50s, stresses the challenge is for people to find “meaningful work in their 60s when age discrimination in the workplace remains all too prevalent.”

IZA World of Labor author Matteo Picchio has looked into how training programs specifically designed for older workers can be an effective policy tool: “The workforce is aging in all industrialized countries because of demographic trends and policies aimed at postponing retirement. This is a cause for concern for both employers and older workers if skills, and therefore productivity and employability, deteriorate with age. There is, however, some consensus in the scientific literature on the ability of older workers to upgrade their skills if training takes into account their specific learning needs. Age-targeted training might therefore be a tool for improving the employment prospects of older workers.”

Read more article on the aging workforce and pension reform