Ageism checks UK rise and rise of mature workers

There is an ocean of statistics swishing around these days on the degree of takeup in rich countries of the renewable asset of mature workers.

In the UK, the adjective miracle is attached to articles about the rise and rise of older workers. Eighty percent of UK employment growth over the last 10 years has come from the over 50s.

The government agency responsible for measuring such things is the Office of National Statistics, the ONS. Analysis of deeper ONS numbers by the wonderfully named Rest Less, a digital jobs and advice site, found the number of over 70s still in work has more than doubled in a decade.

But what type of jobs are these – so-called smock jobs stacking shelves for minimum wage? So many who’ve lost their jobs in their 50s struggle to find anything resembling their earlier, well-paid work – you know, the jobs they got after they jumped through all the education hoops and amassed decades of experience. Self-employment – by default? – has seen huge growth, outstripping overall employment gains to hit record levels.

Rest Less also dug into ONS data to find women +50 have driven more than 40 percent of jobs growth in a decade and 40% of part-time workers are over 50. Unsurprisingly, 74% of that cohort are women.

Stuart Lewis sifts through the stats to paint us a picture of the current state of play of employment of mature workers in the UK. I met the founder and chief executive of Rest Less at its HQ near Waterloo station in London.


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