Our survey amongst job seekers 50+ sought to find out how being unemployed affected their standard of living. Of all respondents 31% had been unemployed up to a year, 25% up to 2 years, and 43% longer than 2 years 58% were in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit. Other benefits received included housing benefit and carers’ allowance.
79% respondents said they did not consider the amount they were getting sufficient to live on at a basic level. 89% said that increases in utility and food costs had led them to have to choose between different essential items. 29% had used a Food Bank in the past year and 49% considered they were living in poverty,
Asked what they thought would help overcome their economic situation 63% stated ‘Paid work’ and 45% ‘an increase in the level of benefits’.
In response to a question as to what impact their economic situation was having on their physical health following comments reflect many of the answers given:
‘I barely go out at all, even to the park and the lack of air and exercise is adversely affecting my weight especially as I’m buying cheap quality foods and supplements’.
‘Higher blood pressure, weight gain, sleep problems’
‘Weight gain from cheap priced food counterbalanced with lots of walking as public transport too expensive’.
And in relation to their mental well-being:
‘not wanting to go out – not meeting / talking to people’
‘Increased anxiety, affecting sleep pattern.’
‘I never socialise, both because I don’t work which is horribly embarrassing and I don’t feel comfortable knowing I’m on benefits, so essentially a drain on society. It’s very demoralising not being a productive member of society.’
‘I am a nervous wreck.’
‘Huge – all self-confidence has disappeared’.
The following quote from one respondent sums up how many other 50+ job seekers feel:
I’ve always been happy to age, and if we’d not gone through Covid I’d not have a problem but we did and I joined the ranks of temps for the last three years but am turning 55 this month and have lost out on every interview I’ve had this year to a younger candidate. Yes, it’s tough out there for everyone but I am a single (never married, never had any children) female and I own nothing, don’t have a job so am currently on benefits and genuinely feel like a waste of space most days, it’s a sad existence, can’t really call it a life.