7 lessons from the Missing Million

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Yesterday we published our Missing Million report with the support of Prime and Business in the Community.

What did we find?

Involuntary unemployment is not the exclusive preserve of the young

  • Of the 3.3 million economically inactive people aged 50-64, approximately 1 million people have been made ‘involuntarily workless’
  • There are around 1.2 million people aged over 50 would be willing to work if the right opportunity arose.

 

Older people don’t take jobs from the young

  • A higher proportion of older workers does not “crowd out” the labour market for younger workers. Our analysis shows that, on average, those local authorities that do well with regard to the employment of older workers also do well in terms of employing younger workers.

 

There is huge economic potential if we maximise labour market participation of older people

  • 26% of people aged 50-64 who are currently out of work would like to work – this rises to 45.8% of all those out of work aged 50-54.
  • 50-64 year olds account for 41% of the total number of people who are economically inactive aged 18-64 (as at Q1 2014).
  • If the skills and abilities of the 50-64 age group were fully utilised and the employment rate matched that of those in their 30s and 40s, UK GDP could be £88.4bn higher in 2014 (equivalent to an uplift of 5.6% of GDP).

 

Self-employment is an important source of work for older people

  • Self-employment accounts for 19.4% of all workers aged 50-64 and for 40.8% of all workers aged 65 and older.
  • The 50+ age group accounts for 42.9% of all self-employment in the UK and 2 million people.

 

Companies who don’t do more to support extended working lives could struggle to get the staff they need

  • The size of the UK’s workforce is likely to flat-line, projected to increase by just 4.5% over the next 20 years by comparison to an 18.2% rise over the last two decades.

 

We need to do more to prevent ill Health

  • Among those in their 50s, long term sickness is the cause of half of all inactivity put down to poor health amongst those aged 50-54 and nearly 40% amongst those aged 55-59.

 

We need to create more opportunities for older people to work flexibly

  • People over 50 want to see more flexible working options afforded to them, 15% even said they would even take less pay in order to work fewer hours – indicating that there is a large contingent of older workers who would like additional flexibility but who are locked into working long hours.

 

The report is available on our website.

 

Ben Franklin presented a few slides at the launch event.

David Sinclair

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