Saga Employment Report for November

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Saga's employment report for November reveals that the contribution of over 50s to the job market is steadily increasing.

Saga Employment Report for November

Key points:

 

  • The UK-wide unemployment rate (for persons aged 16 and over) dropped for the third consecutive reading, falling to 5.3% between July – September 2015 compared with the 5.4% recorded in the three months to August.
    • The unemployment rate for those aged 50-64 held steady at 3.6% in the latest reading.   

 

  • Figure 1 illustrates that the contribution of the over 50s to the job market has been steadily rising. Over the past five years, the total number of people in employment in the UK has grown by 6.2%, with employment for the over 50s rising faster than for younger workers. Over this time, the number of workers aged:
    • 65 or older has risen from 859,000 in the three months to September 2010 to 1.17 million over July – September 2015, a very pronounced rise of 36.0% or 309,000 employees.
    • 50-64 has risen from 7.38 million in the three months to September 2010 to 8.31 million over July – September 2015, an increase of 12.6% or 933,000 employees.
    • 16-49 has increased by 2.8% or 584,000 employees, from 21.15 million to 21.73 million. 

 

  • The number of workers who are 50 or older has been rising steadily. Five years ago, some 8.24 million UK workers were 50 or older in the three months to September 2010. That figure had risen to 9.48 million over the three months to September 2015.

 

  • Figure 2 illustrates that the over 50s’ share of UK employment is continuing to rise. Over the three months to September 2015, we calculate that:
    • 69.6% of all employed people were 49 or younger, down from 70.1% one year previously.
    • 26.6% of all employed people were in the 50-64 age bracket, up from 26.2% one year earlier.
    • 3.7% of all employed people were 65 or older, up from 3.6% 12 months before.

 

  • In the three months to September 2015, the number of people aged 16 or older employed in the UK grew 1.4% from one year ago, the number of people employed aged 50 or older rose by 3.1% over the same period.

 

  • However, there are clear regional differences across the UK in the employment prospects for those that are aged 50 and above.

 

  • Figure 3 illustrates the regional employment growth for workers are 50 or older.
    • The growth in employment of those aged 50 or older outpaced the overall growth across most of the regions over the last 12 months.  
    • Wales and the South West led this rise in over 50s employment with annual increases of 11.1% (+47,000) and 6.9% (+60,000) respectively.
    • However, over 50s employment has fallen on a year-on-year basis in Yorkshire & Humber and London.

 

  • There are also differences in long-term unemployment across the regions of the UK. Figure 4 shows that the percentage of those claiming jobseekers allowance for over 12 months and therefore classed as long-term unemployed is higher for the over 50s age group compared with the working population as a whole in every region of the UK.
    • The share of unemployed people aged over 50 that were classed as long-term unemployed was highest in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands and London at 53% and 47% respectively.
    • This compares with 38% and 35% of all unemployed workers in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands and London classed as long-term unemployed.

 

  • Worryingly, Figure 4 shows that, across the UK, the over 50s who find themselves out of work are finding it harder to get back into employment compared with the rest of the working population.

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