London — The ONS has today published findings from Wave 2 of the Over 50s Lifestyle Study. This survey looks at motivations of those aged 50 to 65 years leaving work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Great Britain from March 2020, why they left, whether they intend to return and what may encourage them back to work.
Reasons for workers aged over 50 years leaving employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic:
In the period from 10 to 29 August 2022, based on adults aged 50 to 65 years in Great Britain (GB) who have left or lost their job since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and not returned to work:
The majority (66%) owned their homes outright, and were more likely to be debt free (61%) compared with those who left their job since the pandemic and returned to work (42% debt free).
Financial resilience varied by age: those aged 50 to 54 years were significantly less likely to be debt free, excluding a mortgage (49%), compared with those aged 60 to 65 years (62%), and more likely to have credit card debt (39%, compared with 24%).
More than half (55%) of those aged 60 to 65 years were confident or very confident that their retirement provisions would meet their needs, compared with just over one-third (38%) of those aged 50 to 54 years.
Age was also a factor when considering whether to return to work; the younger cohort were more likely to say that they would consider returning to work (86% for those aged 50 to 54 years, 65% for those aged 55 to 59 years and 44% for those 60 to 65 years).
Adults aged 50 to 59 years were more likely to report mental health reasons (8%) and disability (8%) as a reason for not returning to work when compared with those aged 60 to 65 years (3% and 3%, respectively).
Adults aged 50 to 59 years (14%) were also more likely to be currently looking for paid work, compared with adults aged 60 to 65 (6%).
Among those who would consider returning to work (58%), the most important factors when choosing a paid job were flexible working hours (32%), good pay (23%), and being able to work from home (12%).
Among those currently in work, access to support may be a factor in retaining the workforce with those who have never left the workforce more likely to have access to employer support than those who left work.
Around 1 in 5 (18%) said they were currently on an NHS waiting list for medical treatment; this rose to 35% for those who left their previous job for a health related condition.