Unemployment: My Grandmother Stole My Job!

Well not exactly… but a recent story in the press pointed out an interesting new trend. In 2010, over a third of newly created jobs were being taken by those over 65 and out of work.

These people might be taking up a job at 65+ to cover what their pension won’t stretch to, and to make up for savings which no longer pay decent interest. Or, given the role of grandparents these days, even to pay their grandchildren’s university fees!

The news often focuses on youth unemployment and worries about what young people – the lost generation – are going to do. Society is right to be concerned.  However, unemployment doesn’t just affect the young. When it comes to standing in line at the Jobcentre Plus, it seems that we – whatever age we are – are really in it together.

Recent Home Office statistics show that unemployment among older people (50+) is increasing more quickly than any other age group, and the older you are when you’re made unemployed, the longer you take to bounce back. The over 50s are also more likely to still be out of work two years after losing their jobs than any other age group. At the same time, research shows that mainstream employment support does not meet the needs of older people.

For now let’s focus on the good news – in London the workforce is getting older. So, it’s important to remember that older Londoners are not just going to be queuing to use their libraries, museums, roads and health services; they’ll also be paying for them from their taxes. Maybe, then, these services will stay open for longer and get better and better.

Are we comparing like for like? Or, do you think older people are taking the jobs that younger people don’t want, such as part-time and low-paid ‘McJobs’? Do tell me your thoughts and experiences relating to this.

Source: ONS statistics on work for over 65s: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=2648

Natalie Turner

Natalie joined Age UK London in 2010 after 17 years in the voluntary and community sector in London and after a year’s posting in Sri Lanka, where she helped set up a national volunteering programme for VSO. She has a particular interest in volunteering, mental health and social inclusion across all age groups. As Programme Manager, Natalie has responsibility for managing Age UK’s pan-London programmes, as well as for developing new ones. Current programmes cover health and wellbeing, over 50s employment, widening access to Information and Advice, and piloting models of Support Brokerage and computer access for older people. Contact Natalie on nturner@ageuklondon.org.uk.

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5 thoughts on “Unemployment: My Grandmother Stole My Job!

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