05 October 2023

Information has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) detailing the trends over time, and comparisons with 35 to 49-year-olds, in the economic labour market status of individuals aged 50 and over.

The UK has an ageing population and workforce, therefore it is of growing importance to understand the economic labour market status of individuals approaching, at, and above state pension age and how trends are changing over time.

The main findings are:

  • the employment rate for 50 to 64-year-olds is not yet back to pre-pandemic (2019) levels, although it has increased over the past year. It is too early to determine if changes over the past year are short-term fluctuations or the beginning of a longer-term trend
  • from 2019 to 2022 the employment rate of older adults decreased each year from a record high in 2019 of 72.5% to 70.7%. Over the past year, the employment rate of people aged 50 to 64 years has increased by 0.6 percentage points to 71.3%, though this increase is not statistically significant
  • the employment rate of people aged 50 to 64 years has generally been statistically significantly increasing over the long-term. The employment rate increased by 4.0 percentage points in the last 10 years (from 67.3% in 2013) and by 7.3 percentage points over the last 20 years (from 64.0% in 2003)
  • the employment rate gap between people aged 35 and 49 years and 50 to 64 years, has statistically significantly decreased in the last year, from 15.1 percentage points in 2022 to 14.2 percentage points in 2023. This is due to a decrease in the employment rate of people aged between 35 and 49 years and an increase in the employment rate for those aged 50 to 64 years
  • around half of inactive 50 to 64-year-olds left their last job five or more years ago (51.0%) compared with a fifth (19.9%) who have left their jobs within the last two years
  • being sick, injured or disabled continues to be the main reason why people aged 50 to 64 years are economically inactive in the labour market, this was the main reason given by 42.3% of older inactive adults
  • the state pension age has a statistically significant impact on employment and inactivity rates of older adults. Between ages 65 and 66 the employment rate decreases by almost 10 percentage points and the inactivity rate increased by a similar proportion
  • older adults are more likely to be long-term unemployed (12 months plus) compared to those aged 35 to 49, with 37.5% of those aged 50 to 64 being long-term unemployed compared to 21.0% of those aged 35 to 49.

This is an annual release, and the next release will be in September 2024.

Read the full official statistics, here.


Information provided in this news article may be subject to change. Please make note of the date of publication to ensure that you are viewing up to date information.