Press release

Older workers statistical information booklet

This report presents key data on older workers’ employment, labour market participation and developments.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This report presents key data on older workers’ employment, labour market participation and developments. It is based on Labour Force Survey data for United Kingdom (Quarter 2, 2010).

Key findings

There are 21.0 million people aged 50 and over in the United Kingdom. Of these 11.2 million are aged between 50 and 64, accounting for 28.0% of people age 16-64.

64.5% of those aged 50-64 are in employment. This is lower than the employment rate for people aged 25 to 49 (80.0%) but higher than for those age 16-24 (50.9%).

Over the last two years, workers aged 50-64 have been negatively affected by the recession. There has been a 1.1 percentage point drop in the employment rate and a 1.9 percentage point rise in the ILO unemployment rate.

ILO unemployment is lower amongst those aged 50-64 (4.9%) compared to those younger than 50 (8.9%).

People aged 50-64 are more likely to be long-term unemployed. 44.0% of those unemployed aged 50-64 have been unemployed for longer than one year, compared with 30.6% of those under 50

Older workers are more likely to work part-time than their younger counter parts. 28.1% of those in work aged 50-64 compared with 21.9% for 25-49 year olds.

People aged 50-64 have spent on average 13.7 years in their current employment, compared with those below 50 with an average of 6.3 years.

The 50-64 group have a high number of people with no qualifications. 17.7% of those aged 50-64 report themselves as having no qualifications, compared with 8.6% of those under 50.

Inactivity rates of those age 50-64 are higher then that of those below 50. 32.2% of the 50-64 age group are inactive compared to 20.4% of those below 50.

Of those claiming Incapacity Benefit (IB) or Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) 48.5% are aged 50 or over.

Note to Editors:

  1. The Older Workers statistical information booklet is published by DWP in fulfilment of a Government’s commitment to publish information on employment statistics on older people. A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Department’s research website at:
Published 11 January 2011