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Older worker

Where have the record numbers of people in employment come from?

Recent ONS figures show that since June 2011 we have seen the number of people in employment increase for eight solid year. This has resulted in a record 32.2 million people in work, an increase of 3.1 million.

Our Senior Programme Manager, Patrick Thomson, says we need to make sure that people working for longer are working in better conditions. 

UK employment growth

To see the graph in motion follow the link.

One of the definitive changes to the UK labour market since the last recession has been the record growth in the rates and numbers of people in employment.

ONS figures out today show that since June 2011 we have seen the number of people in employment increase for eight solid years (32 consecutive quarters). This has resulted in a record 32.2 million people in work, an increase of 3.1 million.

This has been due to a growing population but also due to a higher proportion of people working – for employers small or large, self-employed and those working part time.

Numbers of older workers are increasing faster than any other group

Significantly, these three million workers have come disproportionately from older age groups. Much of the increase in employment has come from people remaining in work for longer not just new entrants to the labour market.

People over the age of 50 make up around a third of the UK’s workers, but make up two thirds of the increase in employment since 2011. This is in part due to the ageing of our population as a whole – as a society we are older on average than in previous decades – but also from changes to behaviour and working patterns as increasing proportions of people delay retirement and remain in work in their 50s and beyond.

Not all these jobs are good jobs – these numbers don’t tell us anything about the quality of work, or how people are experiencing the work they do.

That’s why it’s important that whatever your role in the changing labour market – whether as a recruiter, a manager or just a colleague – it’s important to remember that the people you work with and who deliver for the economy are increasingly going to be older.

Crucially, we need to make sure that people working for longer is also working better.

Becoming an age-friendly employer

Read more
Patrick Thomson
Senior Programme Manager – Fulfilling Work