50% of unemployed men aged 50+ are out of work for at least a year

There were nearly 200,000 men aged 50 and older out of work between September and November 2021 – an increase of 24% in two years – and 50% of them were unemployed for at least a year, according to new analysis from Rest Less.

Rest Less analysed the latest labour market data from the Office of National Statistics to find that unemployed men aged 50+ are significantly more likely to be in long-term unemployment (out of work for at least a year**) than any other age group. In September – November 2021, there were 99,000 men aged 50+ out of work for at least 12 months – up from 59,000 (a 69% increase) in the same time period two years prior. A significant 28% of unemployed men aged 50 and older were unemployed for two years or more (up from 25% two years ago).

Rest Less also compared the latest long-term unemployment by age group data with two years ago, pre-Covid. The analysis shows that the pandemic has exacerbated long-term unemployment amongst all age groups. Across all age groups over the past two years, the proportion of people unemployed for at least 12 months has increased.

Lewis concluded: “The long-term unemployment of any group of individuals is bad news for everyone. We’d like to see the government provide more targeted support, retraining and career re-entry points to unemployed workers in their 50s and 60s.”

Emily Andrews, Deputy Director for Evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “The shape of the post-pandemic employment crisis is now clear, and it’s the over 50s
who are hardest hit, suffering the consequence of an ageist labour market.

‘Following many years of growth, the employment rate among 50-64s is now falling. As well as those who are now unemployed, we are seeing large numbers who are leaving the workforce altogether.

‘But, the large investment made in the Plan for Jobs gives the Government a huge opportunity to ensure that 50+ jobseekers are provided with tailored, individualised support from trained advisors.”