DWP: older people exiting the workforce earlier during the pandemic

ended 09. September 2021

The Department for Work & Pensions this morning published a report showing that, over the past year, older people have been exiting the workforce earlier and that the employment rate of people aged 50-64 has also fallen slightly.

If you're covering this story, we've sought the views of a handful of experts on why this is happening. One is worried that older people "are seen by certain employers as ante-diluvian rather than digitally native". Their full views can be found below.

6 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"Have older people been exiting the workforce earlier over the past year because they've wanted to, to make the most of life after the experiences of the pandemic, or because they are being pushed? As the founder of an organisation that helps people aged 50+ start a business, we hear first hand the stories of people who increasingly feel out of place in the post-pandemic workplace. They are seen by certain employers as ante-diluvian rather than digitally native and that's a dangerous development. People are living longer and need to work longer to stay afloat financially and so it's no surprise we are seeing many more people in their fifties become entrepreneurs."
Star Quote
“It's too early to know whether the slight fall in the average age of exit from the labour market and reduced employment rate among people aged 50-64 over the past year is a short-term blip or the beginning of a longer-term trend where older workers are seen as less relevant in the post-pandemic world of remote working. This would be a dangerous and economically damaging development, as older employees are a goldmine of skills, pragmatism and lived experience, all of which contributes to team diversity and productivity. It's important that employers focus on knowledge transfer between younger and older employees to prevent organisational knowledge loss, and capture that precious corporate memory.”
Star Quote
"Unfortunately, financial necessity will be the main reason why many people are working longer. A decade plus of austerity, combined with low interest rates, low annuity rates, the closure of many final salary pension schemes, means that many people haven't been able to save enough for a comfortable retirement. Couple this with increased longevity, and you can see why we are working longer than before. As a Chartered Financial Planner, I'd say that people need to save more, and start saving earlier, to have a good chance of being able to afford a comfortable retirement. As always, joining your works pension scheme is normally a good place to start."
"Historically, and as bleak as it sounds, people retired at 60 or 65 and died within a few years. As people are now living longer and healthier lives they do not want to spent 20-30 years on the sofa watching Countdown. It is therefore very important to keep yourself busy, as once the mind is not being challenged, it can start to go downhill, and the body quickly follows suit. People are now working longer so that they have a purpose, and so that they can build up enough funds for a comfortable retirement. Someone once said, “You need enough money to be able to sleep at night, and enough of a purpose to get up again in the morning". That feels about right to me and goes some way to explain the changing demographic of workforces today."
"As a 53-year old who owns her own business I can hand-on-heart say people are working longer due to pensionable age and the lack of savings for that generation. On the upside, I find that employing people over the age of 50 has huge benefits as they have a work ethic unlike no other, and they have life experience that they can apply to their roles that makes them more rounded and considered. You get better with age, not worse!"
"On our job board, we are seeing an increase of older job seekers re-entering the workforce due to an increase of flexible working options. The past two years have taken a toll on mental health and people are starting to feel safer about socialisation. Plus, with an increase in the pension age and those who were previously unable to commute now being able to work remotely, the appetite to get back to work is very tempting."