Number of older people in part-time work ‘at record levels after Covid setback’

Industry experts said there had been ‘a paradigm shift in how we view work and retirement’ (David Davies/PA)
Industry experts said there had been ‘a paradigm shift in how we view work and retirement’ (David Davies/PA)

The number of older people working part-time has reached a record high, new research suggests.

A study of official data showed there were 3.6 million over 50-year-olds in part-time jobs.

Rest Less, which offers advice to older people, said the number of over-50s working part-time had increased by 12% in the past two years, by 26% in the past decade and by 56% in the past two decades.

Rest Less’s analysis also found that the number of people aged 66 and older working part-time had risen from 661,000 in 2021 to 781,000 in 2023.

More men aged 66 and older were now working part-time than women – 426,000 compared with 355,000 women, the report said.

Stuart Lewis, chief executive of Rest Less, said: “The number of part-time workers aged over 50 has reached record levels once again in 2023, after recovering from its substantial setback during the pandemic.

“This trend highlights a paradigm shift in how we view work and retirement. Long gone are the days of the linear career path of one or two full-time roles, nine-to-five for five decades followed by a sudden stop at retirement.

“Most midlifers today talk about ‘transitions’ rather than ‘stopping’, with many choosing more of a glide into retirement, than jumping off a cliff into the void – and research continues to show this phasing is beneficial for our health, social connections and overall well-being.”

Dr Emily Andrews, deputy director for work at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Making part-time working more available is a great step for employers who want to realise the benefits of recruiting people in their 50s and 60s.

“Part-time jobs make the workplace more accessible to people with a caring responsibility or with certain health conditions and makes work more appealing to people who are looking for more variety in their life in the latter part of their career.”