The Centre for Ageing Better has published a new report which calls for a major rethink of a range of factors — including work — as Britain undergoes “a radical demographic shift” as people live longer.

The report by the charity, entitled The State of Ageing in 2019, predicts that “An older workforce is the workforce of the future.”

It points out that the number of workers aged over 50 in the UK stands at 10.4 million — an increase of 2.4 million in the last decade. This, the report notes, is equivalent to nearly a third of the UK workforce and is a proportion set to grow as people live and work for longer.

Despite this, 26% (3.3 million) of 50–64 year olds in the UK are not in work — more than the entire population of Wales — compared to 12% of 35–49 year olds and 13% of 25–34 year olds. While some are not working out of choice, around one million people aged between 50 and State pension age are not working but would like to be.

The report notes that “Britain is undergoing a radical demographic shift,” and that a major “rethink of health, work and housing” will be needed.

In particular, it calls on employers to do more to support people to keep working in fulfilling jobs as long as they want, especially those managing health problems or caring responsibilities, enabling them to save more for their later life.

Dr Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better, commented, “Living for longer can provide us with huge opportunities to enjoy ourselves and spend time doing the things we love. But this report is a wake-up call for us all — many people in their 50s and 60s now, particularly those who are less well-off, simply won’t get the quality of later life that they expect or deserve”.

Last reviewed 18 March 2019