Stress and lack of support behind work exodus of many just over 50s

New analysis from the Office for National Statistics looks at the reasons older workers might consider returning to work, with those just over 50 being more likely to be looking to return, but more likely to say they left for health reasons, especially stress.

Stressed man holds his hands to his face


Stress and lack of support have been key reasons for older workers aged 50 to 54 to drop out of the workplace, with a sizable number also wanting a change of lifestyle and feeling unvalued, according to an ONS study.

The study found money is an important motivation for older workers looking to return to work after taking time out, particularly for those aged 50 to 54, those struggling to pay off a loan or mortgage and those who feel they don’t have the skills needed to get a new job, according to a report by the Office for National Statistics.

The report also found that those considering returning were less likely to be able to afford an unexpected but necessary expense (61%) or own their house outright (57%) than those not considering returning (77% and 78%, respectively)

The analysis of people aged 50 to 65 years who have left or lost their job since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and would consider returning in the future found that  those considering returning were on average younger: of those considering returning, 61% were aged 50 to 59 years; of those not considering returning, 33% were aged 50 to 59 years.

Older workers just over 50 were also less likely to have retired. Nearly a quarter (24%) reported they had retired from their previous job while only 6% of those aged 50 to 54 years reported this. Stress (21%) was the most common reason for this younger age group.

The most common reasons for considering returning to work for those with physical or mental ill health were for the money (67%), for social company or a job they would enjoy (46%) and to improve their mental health (42%)

Those who felt they had the skills needed to get a new job were more likely to report retiring or not wanting to work any more; those who did not were more likely to select a health reason for leaving paid work.

The study found that those aged 50 to 65 years who have left their previous job since the pandemic but have already returned to work were more likely to have left their previous job because of factors out of their control, for example, they were made redundant (33%), left because of the coronavirus pandemic (26%) or lost their job (17%)

Comments [1]

  • RLFN says:

    I have 11 years until I can retire it can’t come quick enough for me. My work has introduced a system were we get our work via mobile phone this issue is giving me headaches my work are aware of my issue with technology but I’ve received no support in managing this very stressful issue . We were all informed that we would receive ongoing support in using the devices but my issue is so much worse I can’t stand the phones constant pinning with more work for me it’s my worst nightmare I just hope the next 11 years don’t drag I’ve been with the same company 30 years plus I like my job apart from the introduction of the mobile phones. As soon as I retire I will be writing a review on this company and it will not be good.

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