Official data reveals that a large proportion of the over-50s employees have worked fewer hours and are more likely to have been made redundant in the wake of the pandemic.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK workers aged 50 and over were more likely to report working fewer hours than usual. The data also shows that they are more likely to have been made redundant due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Figures showed that in the quarter December 2020 to February 2021 employees over 50 had the highest redundancy rate across all age groups with it more than doubling from 4.3 to 9.7 per thousand. This has come after consistent employment growth for older workers since the mid-1990s.
Matt Flynn, a director of the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce and professor at the University of Hull stated that “The findings show that although young people have been most seriously displaced, a significant number of older people have been as well.”
“The big problem for 50-plus workers is that, once they lose their jobs, they often find it difficult to get back into work and even more difficult to get back into work that matches their previous salaries and skills levels.”
“Unemployment and underemployment of older workers is a huge waste of skills and experience, which an economy that is just coming out of lockdown can ill afford to lose.”
Wendy Loretto, dean of the University of Edinburgh Business School, said “the findings showed the need for businesses and governments to factor support for older workers into their economic recovery plans.”
“The figures indicate a growing gap between those who have choices over many aspects of their lives, including where and when to work and timing of retirement. That also those who are in a situation with much lower control and in less secure jobs have with little or no choice over decisions around retirement,” she said.
“From our research, this latter group is most likely to need to keep working for financial reasons, but is also likely to include people who may be struggling to do so for health or caring reasons.”