Review of 2023: May to August

The middle part of the year was dominated by concerns about the gender pension gap and about poverty in old age.

Woman leaning against a wall looks out into the distance thoughtfully. She is wearing a green top



Amid calls from the TUC for urgent action to address the gender pension gap as analysis showed that the UK has a worse problem than other countries across industries and with little or no progress being made, more than 20 pension companies, including Aviva, Legal & General and Now Pensions, joined forces to launch a group to help tackle pension inequalities in the UK. The Pensions Equity Group (PEG) will develop a way of consistently measuring pension inequalities, beginning with the gender pensions gap, before expanding to other pension inequalities.

Meanwhile, a new charity internship project was announced which offers paid ‘midlife internships’ in charities.

Charity Interns, hosted by the NCVO and supported by partner organisations such as Alzheimer’s Society, explores new routes into voluntary sector employment for people who may not have experience in the sector. An initial pilot programme is running between late 2023 and early 2024 involving up to six candidates being placed on a six-month paid internship with a charity.

In other news, a Business In The Community report found employers are doing less to support and encourage older workers to take up learning and development opportunities than they are for younger workers.


Aviva’s Working Lives Report 2023: Fit for Future, showed over three quarters of employers think it is important to retain employees over 50, with nearly a third saying it is very important. Ten per cent have introduced support for the first time in the last year.

The UK’s national standards body, the BSI, published guidance designed to help organisations support employees experiencing menopause or menstruation and to aid retention.

Meanwhile, the first major government report on the gender pensions gap says it stands at 35%, although that figure doesn’t include those who have no pension wealth when they reach retirement age.

Modelling by the Pensions Policy Institute found older workers on the National Living wage who drop out for just two years could lose out on nearly £26,000 in future pensions income and those on higher wages could miss out on around £60,000. Meanwhile, a report from Scottish Widows calculated that over one in three people in Britain could struggle to afford basics such as food and heating in retirement.  Nearly half of workers believe that they will still be working after they reach state pension age, according to new research from workplace pension provider, People’s Partnership.

And, despite a demand for day one right to flexible working, a Timewise survey found three quarters of older workers don’t know about the new legislation coming in in 2024.


In the month the Government launched its free online Midlife MOTs website and put its occupational health plans out for consultation, a British Standards Institution report found nearly a third of UK women [29%] expect to leave work before retirement, with 42% expecting this to be due to health or well-being and another fifth specifically citing menopause.

As the number of employment tribunal cases citing menopause discrimination rise, a PwC report finds over 55s in the UK are more likely to have left work and not returned than those in other G7 countries.

In other news, a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found older workers who became economically inactive in the first year of the pandemic were more likely to end up in poverty than those who became inactive in other years, suggesting many were forced into early retirement. And a Joseph Rowntree Foundation report found unpaid carers experience an average pay penalty of £487 per month, or nearly £6,000 per year, which increases the longer they are doing unpaid care. 


A study by Phoenix Insights states that job dissatisfaction was behind many over 50s’ decision to leave the workforce during the coronavirus pandemic. It found those leaving the workforce in their 50s during the pandemic experienced declining satisfaction in the years running up to their departure, well before state pension age. In contrast, job satisfaction was increasing slightly for those who chose to remain in work.

Meanwhile, amid dismay over the Government’s cost of living support for older people, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that older workers in the UK have low awareness about pensions, which hinders their ability to plan their retirement.

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