More older women now in work than not

New analysis shows more women over 60 are now in work than not, with big implications for society and the economy.

older woman in her 50's discussing her career options

 

The UK has seen a “seismic shift” in the last decade with more women aged 60-64 in work than not for the first time, with profound implications for the economy and for women in later life, according to new analysis.

The analysis from over 50s site Rest Less shows the number of women aged between 60 and 64 in work has increased by 51% since the 1995 Pensions Act came into effect which increased the female state pension age from 60 to 65 since 2010.

Between October and December 2009, there were 644,674 women aged between 60 and 64 in work.  In the same period in 2019, there were 976,376 women aged between 60 and 64 in work – an increase of 331,702 or 51 per cent. This contrasts with an increase of only 127,882 (or 13%) in the number of men working aged between 60 and 64 over the same period.

The analysis, based on data requested from the Office of National Statistics, highlights the impact of the 1995 and the 2011 Pensions Acts which increased and then accelerated the female state pension age from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2018.  The qualifying state pension age for both men and women will be raised to 66 by October this year and 67 by 2028.

Rest Less’s analysis also shows that the number of women aged 60 to 64 in work has increased dramatically in the 20-year period since 1999, increasing by 610,673 from 365,703 – a 167 per cent increase.

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, said: “The rapid increase in the women’s state pension age since 2010 has had a profound impact on women in their 60s: the employment rate of women aged between 60 and 64 has increased from 34 per cent to 51 per cent in just 10 years.

“As well as adjusting to the financial implications of the new state pension age, the added frustration for many comes from the continued challenge to find meaningful work in their 60s when age discrimination in the workplace remains all too prevalent.

“Demographic changes in the UK are only moving in one direction. Progressive employers who start embracing age in the workplace by introducing programs to attract, engage and retain talented older workers will be the ones who prosper in the coming decade.”

Patrick Thompson, Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, added: “For many women [the increase in numbers of older women in the workforce] will be a positive choice, with work providing financial independence, an opportunity to save for retirement, meaning and purpose. For others this will be 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.

“The rising state pension age has clearly had an impact on women’s working lives. But while longer lives and changing patterns of work mean many of us can expect to work for longer, it’s vital that people are able to be in work that improves their current and later lives.”



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