Rising cost of living in the UK forces elderly to work beyond retirement

A statistical analysis has found that there has been an increase in labor demand for professionals 50 and up due to stringent economic circumstances in the UK.

Rising Cost of Living in The UK: More Elderly are Forced to Work Beyond Retirement
© Georg Arthur Pflueger/Unsplash
Rising Cost of Living in The UK: More Elderly are Forced to Work Beyond Retirement

Will the rising cost of living in the UK drive you to work well beyond your 60s? Analysis shows this is already happening as The Office for National Statistics has found there to be a 26% increase in elderly working part time in the last decade.

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While inflation begins to ease in Britain, electricity, petrol and food costs are on the rise which further drive the need to access more funds for all.

This particularly affects those on the cusp of retirement whose pensions may not be able to keep up with the rising costs of living. Research shows that there has been an influx of elderly workers throughout the past decade. While some choose to continue working out of enjoyment or a need to mitigate age decline, others find themselves in a position where they simply cannot afford to enjoy the retirement benefits they have earnestly worked for their whole careers.

Can the labour market adapt to the spike in labour demand?

The Office for National Statistics indicates that most of the positions occupied by the section of the workforce are part-time, which, as things stand, puts into question the quality of work and the range of positions available.

In order to accommodate this increase of labour demand, more employers will have to adjust the type of position and their requirement for minimum hours worked; leading them to benefit from the experience of this valuable human capital while allowing them to slowly transition into retirement.

Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager, Centre for Ageing Better commented:

With fewer younger people starting work to replace those set to retire in future years, uncertainty over Brexit, and worsening skills and labour shortages, it’s vital that employers wake up and adopt age-friendly practices like flexible working to enable people to work for as long as they want.

The positives of working longer

Stringent economic conditions may be a main driver for this uptick in elderly labour demand, but we should not ignore the cognitive benefits of sustaining professional activities past the traditional norm. Beyond the physical activity required to show up to work and the cognitive activity required by most positions, it is mostly the sense of belonging and the social engagement that keeps the spirit uplifted while reducing the potential harm done by retirement-induced isolation.

All in all, the entire fabric of the workspace is incrementally changing; driven by economics, an increase in life expectancy and quality of life the workplace will have to make space for the more experienced as they grow in numbers within the labour market. Whether out of necessity, enjoyment or even policy, it looks like we, collectively, are looking towards more years of professional activity in our future.

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The Guardian: British workers increasingly likely to work into their 70s, research suggests

Rest Less UK: The number of over 70s still working has more than doubled in a decade to nearly half a million in 2019

The New York Times: Working Longer May Benefit Your Health

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