Older Female Employment 'To Rise'

The IFS Believes Employment Among Older Women Will Rise In The Coming Years


Women in their late 60s will be paid the same as men for the work they do by 2020, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

This was the main finding of the Changing Face of Retirement study, which researched the likely demographic and financial circumstances of people aged over 65 in England between 2022 and 2023.

Life expectancy is projected to increase in this time, with 38 per cent of English people living above the age of 85.

While this is good news in theory, it causes problems for pension providers, who face the prospect of needing to substantially raise the amount of money they put aside for former employees.

With this in mind, the IFS predicts that women over 65, who traditionally do not participate in the labour market, will increasingly stay in the workforce to supplement their falling wages.

Over the 2000s, the incomes of people in this age group rose by 2.8 per cent annually, much quicker than for younger employees - but this mainly affected men rather than women, something that the IFS thinks will change in the coming years.

Katy Heald, senior researcher at the IFS and author of the Changing Face of Retirement study, said: "The next decade or so will see a big fall in the proportion of older pensioners living alone. This is good news as people in couples are healthier, less lonely, and have higher incomes.

"Incomes of those aged 65 and over in general will also continue to rise, partly reflecting higher employment rates. As a result, levels of poverty among this group will keep falling, particularly for couples."

The rising income of older women reflects broader trends in gender pay.

But while the participation of females in the UK workforce has increased in recent years, experts say there is still much to be done before both genders are equal in terms of pay and progression.

Expert Opinion
This research is interesting employment analysis which gives an insight into how, with life expectancy and health changing, it can be expected that a growing number of people over 65 will continue to be in work.

"Such findings are important for businesses of all sizes to bear in mind, as the changing landscape on employment will be an important issue to consider when thinking about issues including HR and general employment policies.

"We would urge any businesses keen to ensure their houses are in order to seek legal advice and ensure they are compliant with all key regulations."
Fergal Dowling, Partner