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Older people working for longer

27 August 2013

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The number of people aged between 50 and 64 in employment in the UK has increased by nearly two million over the past 15 years. 

Government statistics show that an extra 54,000 workers were in jobs between April and June 2013, boosting the total number of 50 to 64 year olds in work to almost 7.7 million. 

Unlike other age groups, their employment rate is higher than before the recession. 

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “Britain is in a global economic race and in order to win we must embrace our ageing population and the wealth of skills and experience older workers bring to business.

“While things are improving, more still needs to be done to hire and retain older workers. Employers who ignore the talent pool on offer amongst the over-50s are likely to suffer skills shortages and lose a key competitive edge.” 

The average age at which men withdraw from the labour market has risen from 63.1 in 1993 to almost 65 today. Women are now working on average until the age of 62.6 – up from 60.9 in 1993. 

Recent analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that while people are retiring later in recent years, this has not been at the expense of younger workers. It concludes that bringing back early retirement schemes would be a mistake.