Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey was published for National Older Workers Week and...read more
Support and flexible working could help more older workers stay in or get back to work, according to a study from the Office for National Statistics.
Workers in their 50s are more likely than those in their 60s to report health and disability reasons as a reason for not returning to work when compared with those in their 60s, who are much more confident about their finances than their younger counterparts and less likely to be looking to return to work, says the Office for National Statistics.
Its study, based on older peole who have left or lost their job since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and not returned to work, shows rround 1 in 5 (18%) said they were currently on an NHS waiting list for medical treatment; this rose to 35% for those who left their previous job for a health-related condition.
Older workers under 55 were more likely to leave work due to stress (19%) or not feeling supported in their job (17%), compared with those aged 60 to 65 years (10% and 8%, respectively).
Those who had left work since the pandemic and had not returned were more likely to have a physical or mental health condition or illness (51%) than those that left since the pandemic and returned to work (43%). Among those who have a condition or illness lasting 12 months or more, almost a quarter (24%) said their condition or illness reduces their ability to carry out day to day activities a lot. This was 10% for those that left since the pandemic and had returned to work.
The study shows significant differences between workers over 50, with those aged under 55 more likely to consider returning to work [86%] compared to those aged 55 to 59 [65%] and those aged 60 to 65 [44%].
It found that flexible working would make a big difference to workers. Among those who would consider returning to work (58%), the most important factors when choosing a paid job were flexible working hours (32%), good pay (23%), and being able to work from home (12%). It says access to support may be a retention factor, with those who have never left the workforce more likely to have access to employer support than those who left work.
The majority of those surveyed (66%) owned their homes outright, and were more likely to be debt free (61%) compared with those who left their job since the pandemic and returned to work (42% debt free). However, financial resilience varied by age: those aged 50 to 54 years were significantly less likely to be debt free, excluding a mortgage (49%), compared with those aged 60 to 65 years (62%), and more likely to have credit card debt (39%, compared with 24%).
More than half (55%) of those aged 60 to 65 years were confident or very confident that their retirement provisions would meet their needs, compared with just over one-third (38%) of those aged 50 to 54 years. Half reported that it is very or fairly unlikely that they will rely on some paid work in retirement, with 61% of 60 to 65 year olds unlikely to rely on some paid work in retirement compared with 27% of those aged 50 to 54 years.