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More Brits working past age 50

Employers need to embrace age-friendly policies, says charity

The proportion of 50 to 64 year-olds in work has risen from 55.8% in 1984 to 72.5% in 2019, official figures show.

The data from the Office for National Statistics reveals the average age of leaving work is now 65.3 for men and 64.3 for women, up from 63.2 and 60.8 respectively 10 years ago.

The employment rates across both genders and all age groups have all increased since 1999.

For the first time, the employment rate for females in the 60-64 year old age group is higher than the economically inactive rate.

The largest increase since 1999 among both males and females was in the 60 to 64 year-old age group, up from 24.3% to 51.4% for females, and up from 47.6% to 60.8% for males.

Meanwhile, the gap between the employment rate of 35 to 49 year-olds and 50 to 64 year-olds has continued to narrow. In 2019, the employment rate gap was 12.7 percentage points, compared to a gap of 21.1 in 1999.

The number of women in their early 60s working full-time has almost doubled in the last 10 years.

Anne Willmot, age campaign director at Business in the Community, a charity and the Prince’s responsible business network, said businesses need to embrace flexible working policies and offer employees the opportunities for mid-life MOTs so they are fully equipped to make informed choices about their careers, their health, wellbeing and finances.  

“Responsible businesses are already preparing for both the challenges and opportunities that an ageing population will bring, and putting in place age-friendly policies to make the most of the deep structural change emerging in the UK workforce,” she stated.