PAWs for thought

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The Office for National Statistics has released some interesting figures about the numbers of pension aged workers working on after the age of 65. It seems that by December 2010 870,000 people over the age of 65 were employed in Britain. PAWS, as they are becoming known, now represent 3% of the workforce, an increase of 1.5% since 2001.

At a time when youth unemployment reached a record high, with an unemployment rate of 20% among 16 to 24-year-olds the ONS figures suggest that the rate of employment for PAWs has increased during the recession. Most of the PAWs (around 600,000) work part-time and thatís where the recent job growth has been. Full-time employment has scarcely risen at all since the end of the recession.

Some have suggested that the increase in PAWs is because older workers are more willing to accept the part-time, lower wage work that is now available. But the numbers of both full-time and part-time PAWs have risen steadily over the past few years. Most of the PAWs (around 83%) have been continuously long-term employed in the same job for several years, so itís not as if they are moving to new part-time jobs.

On one hand, there are clear benefits to a longer working life. If we have a vigorous labour force working for longer the economy will benefit.

But youth unemployment is undoubtedly a very serious concern and the end to the default retirement age in October is likely to increase the numbers of employees working on after 65. Many employers feared that the abolition of the default retirement age will create a bottleneck for younger workers. This was airily dismissed by the Government in its response to the consultation. Is the ONS about to prove them wrong?

Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in the practical application of employment law as well as providing employment law training and HR support services. For more information, visit our website at or call a member of the team on 0845 644 8955.

Russell HR Consulting offers HR services to businesses nationwide, including Buckinghamshire (covering Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Banbury, Northampton, Towcester and surrounding areas), Nottinghamshire (covering Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Worksop and surrounding areas) and Hampshire (covering Aldershot, Basingstoke, Reading, Farnborough, Fareham, Portsmouth, Southampton and surrounding areas).

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