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Over-60s looking for jobs as ‘Great Unretirement’ takes hold

Victoria Short, Chief Executive, UK and Ireland - Randstad

The number of over-60s registering as job candidates with  Randstad UK has risen by 160 per cent of the long-running average, according to the recruiter.

Randstad says it expects roughly 155 candidates who are over 60 to apply to the agency every year. This number rose gradually until 2018, when it peaked at 180, then fell to 150 in 2020. However, in the last 12 months, 400 people over the age of 60 have registered with the recruitment agency to look for work.

Victoria Short, chief executive of Randstad UK and Ireland, said: “These candidates are not all necessarily returning to the workforce — some may have never left. It may be that some have been employed but with the groundswell changes we’ve seen in the job market, they are now looking for alternative or even additional employment.

“However, it seems likely that, given the sharp rise in over 60s registering with us in 2022 — 160 per cent above the long running average — many are returning to work after retiring, or now looking for second jobs.

“Inflation is running at levels not seen for 40 years. Living costs are soaring. While an affordable early retirement might have looked realistic a couple of years ago, it might not be an option any more. People’s finances are driving them back into work.”

The sectors with candidates of greatest age, on average, are Education — with one supply teacher working with Randstad being almost 86 years-old, having originally registered with Randstad at the tender age of 77 — and Financial Services.

The data chimes with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing thousands of early retirees who gave up work during the pandemic are returning to the labour market as inflation eats into their savings.

Tens of thousands of 50 to 64 year-olds have “unretired” recently, boosting Britain’s workforce.  ONS figures found 75 per cent of inactive people aged 50 to 59 said they would consider returning to work in August 2022, up from 58 per cent in February. 84,000 fewer working age people have classed themselves as retired.

Victoria Short said: “At a national level, this boost of an available and motivated workforce will help to manage the labour shortage that has been stoking inflation.”

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