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Man in workshop

Being in fulfilling work

We want more people aged 50 years and over to be in fulfilling work that supports a good later life.

Work is important financially but is also a major source of social connections. Fulfilling work that suits the individual can give a sense of purpose and help keep people physically and mentally active.

People are working longer. Now work needs to change so that working longer is also working better. We’re focusing on creating more age-friendly workplaces and finding new solutions to support people aged 50 and over back into work.

While there has been a steady increase over the last decade in the number of people over 50 in work, there is still a rapid fall in employment rates among people aged between 50 and the state pension age (SPA). By the year before people reach the SPA, over half are not in work. Business in the Community's report The Missing Million highlighted that approximately 1 million people are ‘involuntarily workless’ – falling out of work before they wanted to for a range of reasons including redundancy, caring responsibilities or ill health.

This age group have more difficulty than any other group in returning to work. Analysis of the government’s Work Programme shows just 16.2% of people over the age of 50 are supported into a long-term job. That is a success rate of less than one in six – worse than any other group regardless of gender, ethnicity, or disability.

Fruit seller, Chapel Market - London

By working with employers to promote age-friendly workplaces, we're supporting more people over the age of 50 to remain in good work for longer.

Workshop, Werneth - Greater Manchester

We are developing and testing new ways to help people aged 50 and over to get back into work.

Why work on it?

Later life in 2015 told us that many people feel the need to work longer or to return to work for financial reasons. For those who can work longer, good quality paid work also provides social interaction, meaning and purpose, and can help people maintain higher levels of activity.

There is still a significant age employment gap, and while some employers already recognise the importance of retaining an older workforce, many don’t.

Get involved
  • Are you are an employer who has initiatives that support age-friendly workplaces?
  • Are you delivering a service or intervention designed to support people into work?
  • Do you have personal experience that could help inform the design of interventions and solutions?
  • Please get in touch if you have information to contribute or ideas you'd like to share. 
Publication cover

Becoming an age-friendly employer

The older workforce is already a reality. This guide sets out five simple actions that employers can take now to improve the way they recruit, support and retain older workers.

Addressing worklessness and job insecurity amongst people aged 50 and over in Greater Manchester

Addressing worklessness and job insecurity amongst people aged 50 and over in Greater Manchester

This report from the Centre for Ageing Better calls for a radical rethink to tackle chronic worklessness experienced by the over 50s, with data showing this age group experience an ‘unemployment trap'.