Please Note That Employment Statistics April-June 2020

72.6% of 50-64 year olds are currently in employment, (April-June 2020)

This is up 0.1 percentage points from the same time last year. (The rate has been between 72.5% and 72.7% throughout the 12-month period.)

10.4% of over 65s are in employment, down 1% percentage from the same period last year.

However, the number over 65s classified as unemployed has risen to 1.4% from 1.2% compared to the same period last year.

The latest 2020 figures show that 29.55% of the UKs workforce was aged between 50 and 64. In 2010 the figure was 25.85%. This upward trend is set to continue and by 2050 the percentage of workers aged between 50 and pension age is projected to reach 34%. 


Whilst only 2.5% of 50-64 year olds are classified as being unemployed, a further 25.5% are currently out of work, classified as “inactive.” (No change from same period in 2019).

In 2010 when the unemployment rate for over 50s was 4.9% and the “inactivity” rate was 31.5% so the situation has improved over the last 10 years. However the impact of Covid-19 can be expected to affect the over 50s very adversely, as they will be competing with a much larger number of younger workers made unemployed by the pandemic.

26.6% of unemployed over 50s have been looking for work for at least 12 months, and many for far longer than that. This is much higher than for any other age category

In 2019he rate of unemployed over 50s for men was slightly higher (4%) than for women (3.5%)


Data produced by Rest Less shows that, in the period  April-June 2019, there was clear evidence of age discrimination in the area of redundancies. In terms of the number of employees per thousand made redundant, the largest group was those aged 50-59 (5.4 per thousand) followed by the 50=60+ (5.2 per thousand). The third worst affected group were millennials (3.7 per thousand.) By contrast, 30-39-year-old redundancy rates were 3.1 per thousand, and 40-49-year olds 2.5 per thousand.

Historically the public sector has had a worse track record in this respect compared to the private and voluntary sectors.. 

Over and Under Employment

The latest ONS statistics showed that:

  • 3,538,000 people wanted/needed more work than they currently have
  • 10,109,000 people wanted/needed less work than they currently have
  • 19,206,000 people were neither under-employed nor over-employed.

In other words, 41.5% of workers feel they are either over-employed or under-employed

Historically men are somewhat more likely than women to be over-employed or under-employed.

Labour Market Activity By Age Group Statistics