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Number of over 65s in employment doubles in 25 years

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

As longevity rates have risen and generous final salary pensions have declined, a larger proportion of older people continue to remain in employment.

In 2018, men are retiring at the age of 65.1 years old while in 1998, the average retirement age stood at 63.1 years old.

For women, the difference in working habits over the 20 year period is starker as they’re retiring 3.3 years later – at 63.9 years of age in 2018 compared with 60.6 years in 1998.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Economic labour market statistics, the rate of employment has increased across all groups of older workers, with those aged over 65s more than doubling in the last 25 years.

In total in 2018, there are 1.23 million people aged 65 and over in employment, including nearly half a million women and 733,000 men.

Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We’re living longer, but generous final salary pensions that previously enabled early retirement have all but fizzled out. The upshot is we’ll have more and more birthdays spent with our work colleagues.

“While part-time working looks likely to be increasingly popular in the future, the reality is there is now a greater proportion of people working full-time past the age of 65 than there were 25 years ago, a result of a change in the rules in April 2011 that previously allowed employers to call time on their workers’ careers at a certain age.”

Helen Morrissey, Royal London pensions specialist, said there are several reasons why a larger number of older women are participating in the employment market.

She said: “Changes to State Pension Age will be one factor behind women staying in work longer. Rising divorce rates for women aged over 50 can also provide huge financial upheaval and prompt many women to remain in the workplace.

“However, it is also important to remember there will be many other women remaining in work for longer because they want to and it is good to see the UK workplace offering them the flexibility to do so.”

Related: See YourMoney.com’s Plan to work past state pension age? The key facts for more information.