Boom in number of flexible working pensioners
The number of pensioners who are working has almost doubled since 1993, according to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics.
The figures show the number of people working past retirement rose from 753 thousand in 1993 to 1.4 million in 2011. Over the period, the number remained relatively flat between 1993 and 2000 but quickly rose to a peak of 1.45 million in 2010, says the ONS. The increasing number of older people working has increased calls for the extension of flexible working.
Taking into account that the number of older people has risen in this period, the figures still show that the percentage of the older population in employment has increased from 7.6 per cent in 1993 to 12.0 per cent in 2011.
The ONS says there may be many factors influencing the decision for more people to work past retirement such as the improved health and well-being of this group, financial pressures, people living longer and wanting to remain active in society and others. Sixty one per cent were women, with almost two thirds in jobs classed as lower skilled. The most popular role was a cleaner. Around two-thirds of the men who worked above retirement age were in jobs classed as higher skilled, including farming.
The ONS said: "Many of these roles for both men and women are characterised by their adaptability to flexible working patterns that allow workers to remain engaged in the labour market."
Pensioner workers were more likely to be self-employed than younger people, with around 32 per cent being self-employed compared to just 13 per cent of those under retirement age.
They were also twice as likely to be working part-time (66%) than full-time (34%). This compared with three-quarters (75 per cent) of younger workers worked full-time and the remaining 25 per cent worked part-time.
As well as being more likely to work part-time, older workers are remaining with their same employer. 62 per cent had worked with their same employer for ten years or more and a further 18 per cent for between 5 and 10 years. This means that eight out of every ten indicated they had worked for the same employer for five years or more, says the ONS.
A higher percentage of older people work in smaller firms compared to workers below retirement age.
Looking more locally across the country and the sub-regions, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire have the highest percentage of older people in employment, at 17.2 per cent. The lowest percentage is in Tees Valley and Durham at 7.7 per cent.