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Older jobseekers aged over 50 have more difficulty than the young getting jobs

New research shows that the over 50 age group experience an ‘unemployment trap’ – meaning they are more likely to be out of work than younger age groups, and once unemployed they struggle more than younger jobseekers to get back into employment.


Currently almost a third of 50-64 year olds in the UK are not in work – some 3.3 million people. Within this, 29 percent are recorded as ‘economically inactive’ – not engaged in the labour market in any way – which is more than twice the rate of those aged 35-49 (13 percent).


It is estimated that around one million of the over 50s who are out of work left employment involuntarily due to issues such as ill health, caring responsibilities or redundancy. Some 38 percent of unemployed over 50s have been out of work for over a year, compared to 19 percent of 18-24 year olds and the Centre for Ageing Better claims that employment support is failing this age group.


Only 16 percent of over 50s referred to the Government’s Work Programme are successfully supported into a job – the worst results of any group, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or disability.


Experts warn that the impending rise of the State Pension age means that, without urgent action, the problem will get dramatically worse. The millions of over 50s already out of work will have to wait longer until they can receive their State Pension – for those aged 56 or below, at least two years longer – at a time when they are unable to secure an income for themselves.


Jemma Mouland, Senior Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Too many older workers are currently being pushed out of the workforce because of poor health, caring responsibilities, or redundancy. Once they have lost their job, over 50s struggle much more than any other age group to get back to work, which is costly personally and financially for them, with impacts lasting well into later life. Given that we are all working for longer and our workforce is ageing, we need urgent action to break this vicious circle."

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