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TAEN comment on older workers report

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Commenting on the report Older Workers in the Labour Market by the Office for National Statistics, Chris Ball, Chief Executive of TAEN – The Age and Employment Network, says: “We welcome the increase in the number of older workers over state pension age from 753,000 in 1993 to 1.4 million in 2011, but sound a note of caution as to whether these numbers are driven by choice or necessity.

Mr Ball continued: “The ONS report makes clear the importance of part-time work for many older people, with workers over state pension age twice as likely to be working part-time (66 percent) than full time (34 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2011. In some cases, part-time work falls short of the work that people want and need. But it is true that there are many older people who want to continue working and earning but prefer to work flexibly or take a gradual rather than a ‘cliff-edge’ approach to retirement by working part time. TAEN hopes that more employers will give the necessary thought to adjusting working patterns to making working longer possible for greater numbers of people.

“The fact that older workers are more likely to be self-employed than younger workers, with 32 percent of those above state pension age self-employed compared with just 13 percent of those below that age, raises an interesting issue. In particular, we would question whether the high proportion of workers over state pension age in self-employment is driven by a lack of job opportunities and the reluctance of some employers to hire older workers”

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