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Older women staying in work because of pension age rises

The number of women aged between 60 and 64 in work has increased by 51% in a decade

According to research by over-50s jobsite Rest Less, between October and December 2019 there were 976,376 women aged between 60 and 64 in work, compared to the 644,674 women in work in the same period in 2009.

From 2009 to 2019 there was an increase of 331,702 (51%) female workers between the ages of 60 to 64.

This contrasts with an increase of only 127,882 (13%) in the number of men in work aged between 60 and 64 over the same period.

The analysis also showed that the number of women aged 60 to 64 in work has increased dramatically in the 20-year period since 1999, increasing by 610,673 from 365,703 (a 167% rise).

Stuart Lewis, founder and CEO of Rest Less, said the rapid increase in women’s state pension age since 2010 has had a profound impact on women in their sixties.

Until 2010 women could receive their state pension at 60. The Pensions Act 2014 started the process of equalising men’s and women’s pension ages, and of raising the eligibility age to 66 for everyone.

In 2016 women had to be 63 to receive state assistance, moving to 65 in 2018 and 66 in 2020.

The state pension age will then rise for everyone to 67 by 2028.

“As well as adjusting to the financial implications of the new state pension age, the added frustration for many comes from the continued challenge to find meaningful work in their sixties when age discrimination in the workplace remains all too prevalent,” said Lewis.

Patrick Thompson, programme manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “For the first time in the UK there are more women aged 60 to 64 in work than not. This is a seismic shift, with profound implications for the economy and for women in later life.

“For many women this will be a positive choice with work providing financial independence, an opportunity to save for retirement, meaning and purpose.

"For others this will be the culmination of inequalities that have built up over a lifetime, remaining in low-paid, insecure or poor-quality work and delaying retirement through financial necessity.

“The rising state pension age has clearly had an impact on women’s working lives. But while longer lives and changing patterns of work mean many of us can expect to work for longer it's vital that people are able to be in work that improves their current and later lives.”

The data analysed was provided by the Office for National Statistics in February 2020.

Further reading

One foot in retirement

Women’s state pension age changes will worsen gender pension gap

Age discrimination driving over-50s to self-employment

Women hardest hit by changes in employment