Nearly one million people over 70 are heading back to work creating a £1.8bn boost to the economy

By Linda Howard

New research from Retirement Villages Group reveals that almost 900,000 people aged over 70 are choosing to either head back to, or stay longer in part, or full-time work, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Results from the ‘Back on Track’ study shows that, post-lockdown, slowing down is the last thing on the minds of many older adults with one in three (36%) over 70s saying they have spent the last 16-months reflecting on their life goals.

Going back to work, whether for financial reasons or in pursuit of a purposeful, active older lifestyle, is a core part of that ambition for many - seven per cent are returning to work and three per cent plan on delaying retirement.

As the number of UK job vacancies reaches its highest level since pre-pandemic, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, Retirement Villages Group has calculated that one in 10 over 70s heading back to, or staying in work could add as much as £1.8billion to the UK economy each year.

Moreover, it promotes a much-needed shift in perspective about the active and valuable role older adults can and want to play in society.

Employment opportunities for over 70s brings massive benefits for the individual too, whether that’s improving their financial or mental health.

Among those that have or plan to go back to work, over half (52%) agree that the main motive is to boost their finances, for a third (33%) it’s to alleviate boredom, and a fifth (21%) want to contribute to society.

Nearly half (48%) of people over the age of 70 who were surveyed said that the single greatest thing that would support older people wanting to go back into the workplace is reduced stigma around later life and misperceptions of what older adults contribute economically, socially, and culturally.

Some 39 per cent said that seeing more age diversity in the workplace would give them greater confidence to consider working opportunities themselves. The research also found that some 27 per cent of older adults believe the pandemic has led to a more widespread view that older people have valuable life skills that society can benefit from.

Commenting on the findings, Will Bax, CEO of Retirement Villages Group, said: “The research confirms that older adults have a critical role in ensuring the ongoing diversity and vibrancy of our society and economy.

“The pandemic has brought this reality into sharp focus, with many people over 70 forced to isolate for prolonged periods, curbing the active, independent and sociable lifestyles they would normally lead and temporarily separating them from communities.”

He added: “It’s vital, as we unlock from the pandemic, that we continue to reappraise how we view the great contribution of people over 70 to our culture and economy.

“Independent, positive ageing matters - not only to the long-term health and wellbeing of individuals, by keeping people out of hospitals and care homes for longer - but also to our society which is enriched by older people playing an active part.”

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