Business

Concerns raised at number of workers over 50 still on furlough

There are concerns that many of the 540,000 people in the UK who are aged over 50 may no longer have a job when the scheme ends this Thursday

CONCERNS are being raised about the number of workers over the age of 50 who are still furloughed as the scheme comes to an end this Thursday.

More than 540,000 people in the age group were on furlough at the end of July, accounting for 35 per cent of the total, according to research.

Rest Less, which offers help and advice for older people, said the pandemic has "devastated" the job market for older workers over the past two years.

Founder Stuart Lewis said the full impact might still to be felt, adding: "With more than half a million people aged 50 or older still on furlough at the last count, we may well see hundreds of thousands of hard-working, experienced older workers enter redundancy and, ultimately, find themselves looking for a new job in the run-up to Christmas.

"The jobs market is polarised at the moment. On the one hand, we have record job vacancies and companies struggling to hire talent in key areas, for example HGV drivers and healthcare.

"On the other side, unemployment levels across many age groups have yet to recover and we are seeing huge falls in economic activity amongst midlifers.

"Much more can be done to help bridge these gaps through intensive retraining and accelerated assessment programmes."

Rest Less said its research suggested long-term trends of employment growth among the over-50s has been reversed over the past two years.

Stuart Lewis added: "The loss of any large proportion of society from the workforce is cause for significant concern and risks holding back the economic recovery for all.

"Whilst for some workers aged 50 and older economic inactivity is a choice and a planned exit from the workforce, many others are finding themselves faced with an early retirement they are neither financially or emotionally prepared for."

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