‘Over 50s the biggest group for part-time working’

Over-50s make up just less than half of all part-time workers in the UK, according to new analysis.

Older woman at work


The analysis is based on figures from the Office for National Statistics by Rest Less, a jobs, volunteering and advice site for the over 50s.

  • The 8.6 million part-time workers in the UK today, 3.4 million of them are over 50 – an increase of 912,000, or 37% in a decade.
  • In comparison, the figures show only 2.0 million under 30s are working part time and 3.2 million 30 to 49 year olds.
  • Ten years ago, 41 per cent of part-time workers were aged 30 to 49, followed by the over 50s at 33 percent (2.5 million) and under 30s at 26 per cent (2 million).

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, said: “Whilst part-time work has historically been associated with students and those seeking flexible working to start families, today it has become an increasingly popular choice for older workers who are shunning the idea of a ‘cold turkey’ retirement in favour of a gradual shift via a part-time working week instead.

“Our analysis has shown that part-time work is growing in popularity amongst those in their  50s, 60s and 70s.

This is due to a number of factors. With ever increasing life expectancy, we are having to fund longer retirements and many are choosing to top up their pension pots whilst they still can.

Additionally, rises to the state pension age and the rapid equalisation of the women’s state pension age have meant that many more are having to continue working for longer.

Importantly however, there is also a growing understanding of the many health and social benefits that come with working into retirement such as staying active, socially connected and maintaining a sense of fulfillment.

“With generational lows in the unemployment rate, the over 50s offer an exciting, talented and up to now largely untapped opportunity too many employers who are struggling to plug a skills and jobs gap.”

Other factors include caring responsibilities for elderly relatives or partners.

The Rest Less analysis also found

  • 74% of all part-time workers in the UK are female (6.3 million)
  • 19% of part-time workers are over the age of 60 (1.6 million)
  • 28% of all part-time workers are women over the age of 50 (2.4 million)
  • There are more than 34,000 people aged 80 or over who are working part-time


Understanding the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population is vital if we want to create productive, innovative and inclusive multi-generational teams as we all lead longer working lives. workingwise.co.uk is a job and community site, from the people behind workingmums.co.uk, specially focused on older workers looking for flexibility and improved work-life balance, and the employers who recognise what they have to offer.

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