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  • Writer's picturechris walsh

Why are there so many older people out of work?

Updated: Jun 23

Just been trained in using the latest 2021 census figures to see the details of over 50s and employment. What is shocking is that while there are under 5% registered as unemployed with the government and receiving unemployment pay while over 28% are workless / economically inactive ( horrible technical words favoured by the govt). While there are a small number ( less than those unemployed who are ' retired' , most are disabled / long term sick, some are carers, but double are 'other'

I think this shows that firstly if the government want to get more people back into work, besides overcoming ageist prejudice among employers they really need to get a grip over the NHS waiting lists - now more than 7 million for everyone- and to start taking long COVID seriously.

Secondly among 'other' our client based experience is that many are either refused support by the DWP, (self employed going broke or people leaving poor exploited work contracts like zero hours are deemed to be ineligible), or won't get any financial help if their partner is in employment or they have basic pension credit etc. However many of these people are in financial need and are desperate to find work. For carers who are also extremely poorly paid - if at all- likewise where possible they want part time work .

In other words it is wrong for the government to blame older people who are out of work for low rates of employment and need to address these fundamental issues and provide customised specialist local support, offer more high quality training, resource upskilling or updating qualifications and work with those of us trying to address structural ageism among employers from all sectors including the public sector and recruitment agencies.

Our experience with Wise Age is that we are able to help around 455 registered clients back into work and promoting such clients to employers while bog standard national agencies get around 15% . Local employment knowledge and awareness of ageism with training by and for the 50+ does work, but the government needs to resource and focus this

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