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Who’s working beyond state pension age?

John Housden, 31 Jul 2012


Who’s working beyond state pension age?

The Office of National Statistics has just published its latest research on rising pensioner employment.

National Statistics has tracked the employment rate for those over State Pension Age (SPA) for some years. The last decade has generally seen a rising trend, regardless of the overall state of the labour market. The latest data, for the final quarter of 2011, show that there are 1.41 million post-SPA workers, 12.0% of the post-SPA population.

Both figures are down on 2010, but this is caused by the growing impact of the rise in women’s SPA since April 2010. By November 2011, female SPA was within a couple of months of age 61. Women currently outnumber men in the post-SPA employed population by about a half.

Two thirds of the post-SPA workers were part time, more than twice the level of their younger counterparts, while nearly a third were self employed – against 13% for those under SPA.

Four out of five had been with the same employer for at least five years and almost two thirds had ten or more years’ service. This long service aspect may be a reflection of the fact that half of post-SPA workers were in organisations with fewer than 25 employees, a sector which accounts for 35% of workers below SPA.

There was a marked contrast between post- SPA men and women in terms of their jobs. 67% of men were in ‘higher skilled’ employment, whereas 64% of women were in ‘lower skilled’ jobs, witness the fact that the most common job for women was cleaner.

What these statistics do not reveal is why people are working beyond SPA, but the fact that so many women pensioners are cleaners suggests that money is a major factor.

This article appeared in the July edition of Financial Timesaver – the monthly digital newsletter for the busy financial adviser. .


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John Housden

Editorial Consultant

John Housden is a qualified actuary who has worked in the personal financial services industry for 40 years.

A former technical director for a life company and longstanding contributor to a wide variety of Taxbriefs publications.


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