Friday, February 15, 2008

Over-50s forced back to work to meet rising bills

This was the headline The Daily Mail – a paper with a high 50-plus readership – and was in response to the latest figures from the Office of Statistics showing that about 60% of the people who found a job over the last year were over 50.

Of the 296,000 jobs created over the last 12 months, 58% went to people born before 1958. The paper then made the jump of logic with this statement: “Experts said that the older worker boom will continue as financial problems force people to keep on working.”

Anyway, whatever the reason, the ONS figures show there are 7.8 million workers over 50 in Britain, which is the highest figure since records began - and the number of older workers is growing faster than any other age group.

The ‘experts’ in question appear to be the Age and Employment Network who are quoted as saying that even more older workers who want jobs, but cannot get them. Of the 1.2million people working over state pension age, they think a further 2.4 million want, or need, paid work.

The organisation is quoted as saying: "This is not just to pay for life's little luxuries, but for the basics of food, fuel and lighting."

In the same batch of news stories is another with the headline: “Puzzling jobs figures show over fifties account for majority of rise in employment”.

The puzzle is this, as explained by the head economist of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Taken at face value the ONS figures suggest that most new jobs at present are going to people aged 50 and over – this age cohort accounts for almost 6 in 10 of the additional people in work last year. But this sits oddly with the observation that most new jobs are being taken by migrant workers – a group overwhelmingly aged under 40.
The CIPD reckons this conundrum is explained by the fact that migrant workers are taking the major share of new job vacancies but older workers are better able, than in the past, to hold onto their jobs. In jargon terms, over 50s employment is rising because of increased job retention not increased hiring of older workers.

Just goes to show you have to dig behind the numbers to get to the truth. I am not sure either The Mail or the CIPD know the real answer. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Anonymous said... (a US-based career website for workers over 50) recently put out an announcement observing that N. American employers are increasingly hiring and retaining workers over 50: