Higher female state pension age causes an increase in older women at work

female state pension ageThe number of women aged between 60 and 64 in work has increased by 51 percent since the 1995 Pensions Act came into effect which increased the female state pension age from 60 to 65 since 2010, claims research from Rest Less, a jobs, volunteering and guidance site for the over 50s.

Between October and December 2009, there were 644,674 women aged between 60 and 64 in work. In the same period in 2019, there were 976,376 women aged between 60 and 64 in work – an increase of 331,702 or 51 per cent. This contrasts with an increase of only 127,882 (or 13 percent) in the number of men working aged between 60 and 64 over the same period.

The research is based on bespoke data requested from the Office of National Statistics. The report highlights the impact of the 1995 and the 2011 Pensions Acts which increased, and then accelerated the female state pension age from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2018. The qualifying state pension age for both men and women will be raised to 66 by October this year and 67 by 2028.

Rest Less’s analysis also suggests that the number of women aged 60 to 64 in work has increased in the 20 year period since 1999, increasing by 610,673 from 365,703 – a 167 per cent increase.

Commenting on the analysis, Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, said: “The rapid increase in the women’s state pension age since 2010 has had a profound impact on women in their 60s: the employment rate of women aged between 60 and 64 has increased from 34 per cent to 51 per cent in just 10 years.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“For the first time in the UK there are more women aged 60-64 in work than not.”[/perfectpullquote]

‘As well as adjusting to the financial implications of the new state pension age, the added frustration for many comes from the continued challenge to find meaningful work in their 60s when age discrimination in the workplace remains all too prevalent.

‘Demographic changes in the UK are only moving in one direction. Progressive employers who start embracing age in the workplace by introducing programs to attract, engage and retain talented older workers will be the ones who prosper in the coming decade.

Patrick Thompson, Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, commented: “For the first time in the UK there are more women aged 60-64 in work than not. This is a seismic shift, with profound implications for the economy and for women in later life.

For many women this will be a positive choice, with work providing financial independence, an opportunity to save for retirement, meaning and purpose. For others this will be the culmination of inequalities that have built up over a lifetime, remaining in low paid, insecure or poor quality work and delaying retirement through financial necessity.

“The rising state pension age has clearly had an impact on women’s working lives. But while longer lives and changing patterns of work mean many of us can expect to work for longer, it’s vital that people are able to be in work that improves their current and later lives.”