New analysis focused on men over 50 shows high levels of economic inactivity in the wake of the pandemic.
Economic inactivity levels amongst men aged 50-64 in December 2021 to February 2022 were the highest since records began, according to new analysis from older workers’ site Rest Less.
Rest Less analysed labour market data from the Office of National Statistics and found that economic inactivity levels amongst men aged 50-64 reached 1.47 million in the latest official figures – the highest they have been since records began in 1992. Economic inactivity rate for older men is now at 23.1%. Since the pandemic began two years ago, there are now 179,000 additional men aged 50-64 who have left the jobs market entirely.
The ONS figures show that economic inactivity increased by 1.3% for men over 50 between 2019 and late 2021 compared to a 0.5% increase for women over 50. Its research shows a general rise in economic inactivity in professional full-time roles. Economic inactivity covers a number of reasons, including early retirement and ill health.
The ONS’ Over 50s Lifestyle Study has also found that men are more likely to use savings and investments to fund their retirement or time out of work (51%) than women (33%) and women are more likely to receive financial support from a partner or family (26%) than men (10%). Men are more likely to state that they no longer need the money from their job (7% for men and 3% for women). Meanwhile, women are more likely to leave their job to look after the home or for caring responsibilities (8%) than men (3%).
The OLS study also found that 22% of all respondents who had left the workforce since the pandemic would not rule out returning to work or self-employment. The figure rises to 31% for respondents aged under State Pension Age (currently age 66). One in four (25%) male respondents said they would consider returning to employment compared with 19% of women.