October 23, 2014

Older unemployment costing UK billions

People in the UK over the age of 50 are being pushed out of work at the expense of the country's economy, a new report has claimed.

The study, by the British charity The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), claims that almost a million people aged 50–64 have left employment against their wishes, due to redundancy, ill health, early retirement, or a combination of these factors. Those in their late fifties are particularly vulnerable to involuntary joblessness.

PRIME estimates that if the skills and abilities of this age group were fully used in line with workers aged 35–49, the UK economy would grow by over £88 billion, or 5.6% of GDP.

The report further argues that, contrary to popular belief, more jobs for older workers does not mean fewer jobs for younger people, and that increased employment amongst older age groups has a proven link with greater youth employment.

This message is backed up by our author René Böheim, who argues that later retirement ages and policies that encourage employment of older people are likely to support the employment of both older and younger workers.

Read the report here.

Related article:
The effect of early retirement schemes on youth employment, by René Böheim
Redesigning pension systems, by Marek Góra