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UK Over 50s Drive Employment Increases


In the past ten years, the number of people employed in the UK has risen by over 3 million, with nearly 80% of this growth made up of those who are over 50, official data has revealed.



Last month, The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published figures showing that there are 32.6 million people in work, a rise of 444,000 from the previous year.



The usual practise at ONS is to separate out over 65s when analysing older workers, however a separate report on the figures from employment site Rest Less has shown the rise in the over 50s job market for the first time.



These marked increases can perhaps be explained by a desire for people to work longer, pension shortfalls and changes to the state pension age.



In 2008 there were nearly 8 million over 50s employed in the UK and this has now risen to some 10.4 million. There are also half a million more over 65s in work compared to a decade ago.



In spite of these major leaps, age discrimination continues to be rife in some sectors with a number of employers rejecting job seekers on the basis that they ‘have too much experience’.



It is forecast that by the mid 2030s, half of adults in the UK will be over 50.



Last year, MPs warned that up to a million over 50s were being lost to the workplace because age discrimination legislation was not working.



The Commons’ women and equalities committee have urged UK companies that they need to adapt to an aging workforce, adding that employers must offer more flexible conditions in instances such as when workers are having to provide care for an elderly relative.



The report said: “It is unacceptable that the nation is wasting the talents of over one million people aged over 50 who are out of work but would be willing to work if the right opportunity arose.  Too little is being done to enforce the law.”



These sentiments were echoed by the research conducted by the charity Age UK who found that more than a third of job applicants aged 55 to 64 felt “disadvantaged or treated negatively because they were perceived as being older.”



Clearly, a lot more needs to be done to combat the negative stereotypes of older workers.


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