Over a million over 50s struggling to get back to work

Over a million people over 50 have been pushed out of the labour market and are struggling to get back into work, according to a new report by Business in the Community.

Lady working at home


People over 50 are being pushed out of the labour market and struggling to get back into work, a new report finds. The report by Business in the Community found that this age group are also more likely to remain out of work once they lose a job and if they want to find new employment they have to rely on their own resources and networks.

The Missing million: Pathways back into employment report finds that the over 50s continue to face age discrimination and they are increasingly having to start their own businesses or go into unpaid work, when they would prefer to do otherwise.

Support services

Business and official support services have a crucial role to play in helping the over 50s become active members of the workforce and the report, the second in a series being produced by Business in the Community around age and intergenerational workplaces, makes a number of recommendations and highlights the importance of flexible working for this age group.

It says, for instance, that employers can help to ensure that traditional positions of employment are made available to older people when they look for work. It adds that offical support services should prepare older people for work and connect them with appropriate job opportunities.

BITC says: “Our mission is to make sure that that business benefits from the enormous ambition, experience and skills that older people bring to the labour market.”


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.

Find out more


Comments [2]

  • Frank Wilcockson says:

    “Sadly, you may well be the victim of age discrimination.” Strange that age discrimination is ‘OK’ even though I’m told it is against the law. It is usually those organisations that boast of their diversity who are the biggest culprits in both the public and the private sectors.

    Can you imagine: “Sadly, you may well be the victim of sex discrimination.” or “Sadly, you may well be the victim of race discrimination.” ? No, so hypocrisy is still alive and well – and readily endorsed in the UK? Nothing new then?

    Finally I see are conducting a poll “Should schools do more to ensure gender equality is promoted in the curriculum?” Schools wouldn’t substitute gender for age as ‘education’ seldom recruit anyone over 55 even though retirement age is another 10 years if you are in the commercial sector.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would agree with the points made in this article. I work – or used to work – in arts education and development within the statutory sector. Since the recession and redundancy I have struggled to find a new post which I feel matches my skills and experience. Suddenly I seem to be 'too experienced' when I feel I am most able to take up the challenges of a new post. My family are more independent so I could commit more time to work and yet I can't find a post. After interviews I find the job has been given to people with 10/15 years less experience than me. It's very demotivating and frustrating. I've had good feedback after interviews and I don't want to think it's ageism but now I'm thinking it probably is. What do I do now? There's no retraining support in Scotland that I can find. very few grants for setting up an arts related small business. At the moment I am freelancing which is stressful, unpredictable and poor conditions of pay/pension etc. Any advice from others who have come through this?

    Editor: Our careers expert Linda Whittern says: 

    Sadly, you may well be the victim of age discrimination. Such cases are often difficult and expensive to take to tribunal so I’m not suggesting you try that route. What’s equally a possibility is the marked downturn in this always very competitive sector since the 2008 “banking” recession and the subsequent “austerity” recession (2010 – late 2013). Local Authorities and central government used to provide many of the jobs in arts education and development, whether directly or indirectly … severe government cutbacks in their funding mean these jobs have temporarily vanished in many areas. Arts administration often involves putting together big and complicated events with partner organisations … have you tried applying for Event Organiser roles? The events industry has seen significant growth in recent years. Organisations employing Event Organisers include specialist event management consultancies; conference and exhibition centres; large commercial organisations; charities; hotels; public attractions; universities; local authorities; and public relations (PR) agencies. Even though you know the sector well and may still have useful contacts within it, I’d suggest you do a lot of market research before even trying to set up an arts related small business. Creating a small business and nursing it towards being able to pay its creator a living wage is usually very difficult, even when the business will fill an essential need (eg child care or elder care). It’s much more difficult when the business deals with “nice to have” but probably not absolutely essential services (eg arts education) where potential customers can see the costsinvolved in signing up but be less aware of the benefits they’ll receive. If you feel running your own small business might be a good solution for you please try to think laterally about your skills and interests to find a business idea which is more marketable and less competitive. Run brainstorming groups with family and friends to come up with good ideas to follow up. Pay special attention to any online based business ideas they come up with (eg resourcing images / film clips for companies located in London). GOOD LUCK!

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises