Number of working pensioners doubles in twenty years

The Momentum UK Team 14 June 2012

The number of pensioners staying in work has doubled to 1.4 million from a figure of 753,000 recorded in 1993. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that more and more people approaching State Pension Age (SPA) are choosing to remain in employment rather than retire.

This may come as little surprise given the increasing difficulties faced by all in our current economic weather.

However, while many older people may be working out of financial necessity rather than choice, statistics indicate that they have more control over how and when they work than those between 16 and State Pension Age. 32% of older workers are self-employed, compared to just 13% of younger workers. Furthermore, 34% of older people in employment only work part-time, while a smaller 25% of younger people are able to do this. The latter figure may be due in part to older workers also benefiting from pension savings or plans.

Statistics vary from region to region - Buckingham, Berkshire and Oxfordshire have the highest rate with 17.2% of over-65s in employment. Tees Valley and Durham have the lowest at just 7.7%.

The ONS suggests that - as well as financial pressures - reasons for the sharp rise in older employees could include better health, longer life expectancy, and the desire to remain active in society. In fact, it seems a popular opinion that over-65s feel part-time work benefits them personally.

Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga says:

"Saga's  research shows that many of our over 50s already want to work past 65. 71% would like to work part time rather than retiring and in fact 7% are  already  working  past  the age of 70. This isn't just for the money - work  satisfaction,  feeling  useful  and  the social benefits we gain from working were key reasons that people wanted to continue.”

Dr Altmann also said that she saw these figures as part of a wider positive change in society. She added:

“By embracing and in fact welcoming the opportunities of working during part of these bonus years, we can help boost our ailing economy, ensure less reliance on the state and ultimately make retirement more fulfilling."