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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Number of women working past 70 doubles in four years

The number of women leaving the workforce after the age of 70 increased from 5.6% in 2012 to 11.3% in 2016, according to Hargreaves Lansdown’s analysis of new Office for National Statistics data.

"Older workers bring valuable skills to workforces" ©Shutterstock
"Older workers bring valuable skills to workforces" ©Shutterstock

It revealed that men are also exiting the labour market later, with the number leaving the workforce aged over 70 rising from 10% in 2012 to 15.5% in 2016.

This is seen as positive for the economy, with previous analysis from the financial service company showing that employers believe older workers bring reliability and experience to their organisations.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior pension analyst, Nathan Long, said: “Older workers bring valuable skills, experience and loyalty to workforces across the country.

“This jump in those leaving work over 70 may simply be through individual choice, and workers should be encouraged to work as late in life as they are able to and feel is desirable.”

“But ultimately, they also need to have the means to leave the workforce and to enjoy retirement when they are ready to do so.”

The change in age of exiting the labour market between 2012 and 2016 is shown below:

Source: Hargreaves Lansdown and ONS
Source: Hargreaves Lansdown and ONS

Although older workers can bring benefits to businesses, there are challenges in managing an ageing workforce that will require employer adaptations and changing worker attitudes, according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

Last month, the government published a report suggesting how employers could ensure that older workers do not leave the labour market prematurely, and how to increase job satisfaction for such employees.

“The risk to employers is of a workforce trapped in jobs they don’t want to do, which will inevitably impact on productivity,” Long continued.

“The government has already set out their its vision for fulfilling working lives, but its success requires employers to embrace flexible working, re-education of employees and the transfer of a lifetime of knowledge.”

Hargreaves Lansdown also recommends that the government introduce a national retirement review for people at the age of 50 through Pension Wise, which would gives people time to influence their retirement and later life working plans.

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