The proportion of people aged over 50 in employment is set to hit 47 per cent by 2030 following a 36 per cent increase in the absolute number the last two decades, according to a new report.
The ‘Working Late: Over 50s and employment’ report, released by Legal & General Retail Retirement and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found that more people are working into their sixties due to shifts in wealth, lifestyle expectations and in response state pension changes.
Researchers found the number of people over 50 and in work has increased from 31 per cent in 1992 to 42 per cent in 2020.
While the percentage of working people under 50 has remain fairly consistent during this time, the over 50s group has continued to grow.
This has caused a narrowing of the gap in employment rates between the under and over 50s from 42 percentage points in 1992 to 35 percentage points in 2020, with a further narrowing to 29 percentage points expected by 2030.
This trend has been particularly driven by people continuing to work into their sixties, whose employment rate has risen almost twofold in the last two decades, with an increase from 23 per cent to 41 per cent since 1992.
Even with the option to leave the labour market upon State Pension Age, which is currently age 66 for those close to retirement, many people are continuing to work past this milestone.
Eight per cent of people over 66 currently are in work, and those in work put in an average of 26 hours a week. According to the report’s forecasting, this number is also set to increase by 2030, to a record 11 per cent – an estimated 948,000 people.
This percentage could increase further, experts say, if we see additional changes to the State Pension Age in the next few years.
A survey run in conjunction with the report revealed that people over 50 who are not yet retired ideally want an income of £23k a year when they do.
Commenting on the findings Andrew Kail, the CEO of Legal & General Retail Retirement, said: “Our research demonstrates a significant cultural shift in the world of work.
“People are continuing to work for longer, in order to reach their desired retirement lifestyle but also in response to changes in wealth, State Pension provision and to reflect the fact that we are living longer as a society.
“This creates a much more challenging hurdle for people to overcome in order to fully retire. Gone are the days of ‘carriage-clock retirement’ and we need to make sure people understand the implications so that they can better plan for their future and the extent to which work will play a role in it.”
For those worried about their finances and the implication it has on when they might retire, Legal & General has launched free online course with The Open University, setting out a series of stepping stones to a financially secure retirement and produced a series of podcasts, called ‘Rewirement’, to “help listeners get the best from their later years”.