Employment crisis as number of older working women continues to fall – ‘difficult times’

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Employment can provide both the financial and social stability many people need in their day-to-day lives. However, statistics recently released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown the impacts of the pandemic on the situations of many. The latest release from the ONS Labour Market has shown there are more than 100,000 fewer female workers aged 65 and over than before the pandemic.

But while on a surface level this may be attributable to the challenges of the last 18 months, it is clearly not impacting men in the same way.

In fact, figures have shown the number of male workers aged 65 and over has risen within the same period. 

This has painted a bleak picture for women who are steadily progressing towards their retirement.

Without the financial assistance of regular work, some may have to adjust their retirement plans accordingly.

Indeed, with less money, and also less in workplace pension contributions, some may find they run out of savings mid-way through their retirement.

Analysing the data was Stephen Lowe, group communications director at retirement specialist, Just Group.

Mr Lowe said the decline in the age 65 and above workforce should be entirely accounted for by the lower number of women. 

He stated: “The trend for a rise in the number of older workers encouraged by the rising state pension age has been reversed since the early days of the pandemic.

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“Today’s figures show 52,700 women aged 65+ were working in the February to April period this year compared to 629,000 in January to March 2020, before the pandemic effects were felt.

“In the same period, the number of male workers aged 65+ has actually edged up from 775,000 to 781,000, although in normal times that growth might be expected to be higher.

“These are difficult times for older workers, many of whom may feel retirement is the only option.

“Our own recently research among people aged 55+ found half of those who retired early than expected were forced out due to poor health or job loss.”

As a result, then, Mr Lowe urged people to take action to ensure they protect their future.

One of the key steps, he highlighted, worth considering is the Pension Wise service offered by the Government.

This is a free, independent and impartial service which can help Britons decide what steps to take with their retirement.

It is also a good step to take before starting to access pension cash, as it can assist in people fully understanding their options.

The advice can also stop individuals falling victim to dangerous scams which commonly circulate in the pension sphere.

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Back in February 2021, ONS figures illustrated the number of older working women had fallen by 11 percent. 

At the time, speaking to Express.co.uk, the campaign group WASPI condemned the trend.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “The Labour Market figures from the Office for National Statistics illustrate clearly the impact of COVID19 on women.

“WASPI – Women Against State Pension Inequality – have been raising the issue since April last year.

“Women born in the 1950s, now in their sixties, are often employed in the ‘gig economy’, short term contracts, or in part time, low paid work.

“These roles have been particularly affected by the impact of the pandemic. WASPI calls, for emergency support for those most affected, have fallen on deaf ears.”

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