Press release

Employment Minister calls on businesses to create more opportunities for older workers

New figures show that there are now more people aged 50 to 74 in work than ever before, 3.7 million more than there were 20 years ago.


The figures also show the unemployment rate for people aged over 50 has dropped to 3.3%, the lowest level since 2009. There are over 1.1 million people working beyond age 65.

There are now 9.4 million people in work aged 50 to 74, source: Labour Force Survey statistics

Many businesses already recognise the value of older workers. For example, Barclays’ ‘Bolder Apprentices’ scheme creates opportunities for people wanting to start a new career in later life. Other firms, such as hospitality firm Whitbread, are also seeking the skills and knowledge of older workers.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said:

It is clear that people over 50 aren’t slowing down or getting ready for retirement. I want to see businesses supporting this momentum while also reaping the benefits of the skills and expertise these older people can bring to the workplace.

People in later life are increasingly looking to stay in work and it is important that more businesses look for ways to support them.

Supporting older workers

The government is committed to supporting older workers. We have abolished the default retirement age, and extended the right to request flexible working to all employees. This means that older workers now have more choice about how and when they retire. We will continue to challenge people’s outdated perceptions, and to actively promote the business case and benefits of employing older workers.

Further help is available through the New Enterprise Allowance which enables entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses with the help of Jobcentre Plus. One in 5 businesses launched through the scheme was established by someone aged over 50.

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Published 28 July 2016