Disturbing news reports emerged in mid August 2020. In short research carried out by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which provides ‘independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances’ found that one in four (2.5 million) workers aged 50 and above were furloughed and 377,000, some 15%, of them could loose their jobs as the furlough scheme winds down. The Telegraph Money headline was ‘Quarter of a million over 50’s will never work again’.
The Centre for Ageing Better, a charitable foundation that ‘creates change in policy and practice’ found through Ipsos MORI research that the coronavirus crisis risks creating a ‘lost generation’ of retirees facing poor health and financial insecurity in retirement. Research backed up the thinking that the over 50s already face serious disadvantages in the workforce, are more likely to be made redundant and struggle more than any other group to get back into work once they have fallen out.
Further research by Rest Less, a jobs site, found that just under 2000,000 workers aged 50 or over were forced into early retirement due to the coronavirus outbreak. Women over 50 were the hardest hit, with nearly 100,000 forced into early retirement. Nonetheless economic activity rose amongst female over 50’s, whist over all other all age groups it fell.
Bear in mind that the UK population is undergoing a substantial age shift. it is estimated that by around 2040 one in four people will be over 65. Carrying on expecting a comparatively reduced number of people of traditional ‘working age’ to support a potentially burgeoning number of retirees is clearly a fiscal train crash waiting to happen.
Currently it’s not all bad news. In 2019 a record 10.7 million people aged 50 and over were in work. The down side is that The Centre for Ageing Better estimated 6.1million of these workers would be unable to work from home if, as had been suggested over 50s have to self isolate.
The latter situation would apply to those who work for 50plus, the majority of whom are over 50. Repairing plumbing, electrics and gardening is clearly impossible remotely so we’d have to cease operation, something we avoided throughput the lockdown in order to keep an emergency service running. Thankfully the idea of locking down over 50s was rapidly played down after an outcry.
At 50plus we’ve over 20 years experience of deploying a mature workforce. Some of early employees are now over 70 and still going strong on both desk and practical work. We have found a way through keeping people who wish to continue to work in employment. Its not for everyone but being wanted and having a purpose if life is vitally important for many. To find out about how 50plus both deploys a mature workforce and supports our majority 50 plus domestic customer base visit www.the50plus.co.uk.