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Planning Retirement Online

Missing million:

Illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s

We have a situation in the UK where millions of over 50s are not working and not receiving the help they need. Business in the community (BITC) and The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), working with the International Longevity Centre (ILC), have embarked on a campaign to tackle this, yesterday (24/10/14) saw the launch of the first of 3 research papers to underpin this, looking into the economic barriers facing the over 50s, employment solutions and the benefits of maintaining an older workforce.

The launch was particularly encouraging as it served to illustrate that real efforts are being devoted to this issue. It has high level backing with Minister Steve Webb and HRH The Prince of Wales participating at the launch.

One of the reasons it is likely to receive on-going focus is that the Government and future Governments have a vested interest in its success because the UK faces a problem: while the population is expected to increase from 63.7 million in 2012 to 72.4 million by 2034, its traditional working age population is expected to rise by just 1.5 million (or 3.5%). This compares to a rise of 6.2 million (or 57.3%) for those aged 65 and over. The 50+ age group is projected to rise by 6.9 million or 30.9% over the same time period. At worst, such a slowdown in the growth rate of the working age population could imply lower rates of growth in employment and a subsequent slowdown in economic output (or GDP as it is commonly known). So there is a strong economic imperative for doing something about it!

The focus of the report (available at ) is very much on reducing involuntary exit from the workplace. There is also activity to assist those who have exited to re-enter the workforce, including initiatives from PRIME to assist individuals to start their own enterprise.

Here at LaterLife we need no convincing of the huge resource of knowledge, skills and experience amongst the over 50s which isn’t being utilised, both before and after retirement. So we are very supportive of such initiatives.

Entrepreneurial in Later Life

We would also like to see equally strong initiatives to tap into the entrepreneurial nature of the over 50s. A few years ago we conducted a work and retirement survey on the web site which showed a startling number of people would be interested in either starting their own business, or participating in a start up in later life, if Government action created an environment which assisted and encouraged this. We have been running the same survey over the last few years both pre and post removal of the Default Retirement Age with similarly startling results:

39% of those completing the LaterLife survey would value the opportunity to use their knowledge and skills to start their own business in later life if Government action and assistance created a good environment to do so.

This number rises to 47% if being part of a start-up is included.

And, with the removal of the Default Retirement Age, these figures are on the increase. (Age range of those surveyed 50-70).

Although the community isn’t necessarily indicative of the population at large, we very much hope that future initiatives will further research and address this apparent latent opportunity and would be very interested in your thoughts on all aspects of working in later life, and working as part of a portfolio retirement. Just email us at .


  • PRIME Report: The Missing Million, Illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s
  • LaterLife visitor work and retirement survey

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