Older people in the UK labour market

Today, 1 October, is the International Day of Older People. Here we look at some key labour market statistics for people aged 65 and over in the UK.

The UN General Assembly voted to establish 1 October as the International Day of Older Persons in 1990, and the occasion was first observed in October 1991.  The focus of the day is to raise awareness about issues affecting older people as well as appreciating the contributions older people make to society.

In 2013, there were over 11 million people aged 65+ in the UK – 17.4% of the total population. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that by 2037, over 24% of the UK population will be aged 65+.

Over the last twenty years, the number of people aged 65 and over who are in work has increased from 430,000 in May-July 1994 to 1.1 million in May-July 2014. The employment rate for older people has doubled in this time, from 4.9% to 10.1%:

141001 employment rate

Older workers are more likely to be self-employed or working part-time than workers aged 16-64.

In Q2 2014, workers over 65 were twice as likely to be working part-time (67%) than full-time (33%). For those under 65, three-quarters of workers (75%) were employed full-time and the remaining 25% worked part-time.

Self-employment among those aged 65+ in the UK has almost doubled over the last five years, from 241,000 in Q2 2009 to 428,000 in Q2 2014.  Older workers are more likely to be self-employed than their younger counterparts:  around 39% of workers aged 65+ were self-employed in Q2 2014 compared to just 14% of those aged 16-64.

Over 40% of workers aged 65+ are part-time employees, whereas 25% are self-employed and working part-time:

141001 working patterns

The most common occupations for people aged 65 and over include professional occupations; managers, directors & senior officials; and skilled trades occupations:

141001 occupations

Author: Aliyah Dar

Sources