Paper highlights missing million + older workers

A new paper from the International Longevity Centre finds one in 10 older workers who are not working would like to.

Older man looking serious


One in 10 people aged between 50 and state pension age don’t work but want to, according to new research.

The “Good job?” research paper by the International Longevity Centre estimates 1.65 million people aged between 50 and 69 have been pushed out of work early due to a combination of redundancy, ill health or early retirement.

It says the rates of involuntary exit from work start rising around age 40 and are highest among people in their late 50s and early 60s. And it adds that, despite some improvements from employers, a failure to act to support longer working lives means that millions of over 50s are being forced from their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control.

The report points out that, due to labour shortages and an ageing population, the UK needs people to stay in work for longer. Previous ILC research has also shown that 7.2% of people are underemployed – they’d like to work more than they do – and that two in five adults are economically inactive, often due to long-term sickness.

David Sinclair, Chief Executive at the International Longevity Centre UK, said: “Work is a good thing. Meaningful activity, whether paid or voluntary, keeps us connected and gives us purpose. However, too much of what we do for work doesn’t add value to us as individuals or to society. And work without purpose is basically pointless.

“We need to make work more attractive and accessible to more people. And we need more than headline-grabbing, sticking plaster solutions to address poor mental and physical health and get people back to work. Patterns of work are changing and so are our attitudes to what’s most important for our working lives. Technology has already made a massive difference to the world of work and will continue to do so. The question is whether we can harness these changes to our benefit”.

“When we highlighted the “missing million” in our 2014 report we called for action. But our latest analysis shows that while millions of over 50s would like to work they are still not receiving the help they need to get back into the workplace.”

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