From pensions to unemployment, HRreview considers the ways in which older workers have been impacted by the pandemic this year and how this has affected their working lives.

New research from Smart, a company specialising in pensions advice, has revealed that over a million older workers have delayed their retirement due to the pandemic.

A poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of Smart reveals that over one in eight over-55s (13 per cent) that plan to retire in the future are now delaying this as a result of COVID-19.

Additionally, over half of all UK adults (52 per cent) admitted they were concerned about being unable to afford their current lifestyle in the future and feeling limited financially.

Although older workers who are expecting to retire may have been forced to change their plans, recent research also indicates that older people have been similarly hit due to unemployment during the pandemic.

According to recent ONS figures, the number of over-50s who are unemployed has risen by a third during this year alone.

Data shows that, whilst 280,000 over-50s were unemployed between July and September 2019, this number has now climbed to 371,000 older workers unemployed during the same period this year.

Rest Less, a company which provides support for older people, stated that their analysis reveals that this rise is higher than any other age group. The company further states that once older workers are out of employment, they are significantly more likely to be out of work in comparison to younger employees.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said:

Not only have we seen a rapid rise in unemployment in the over- 50s since this time last year, but our previous research has shown that once unemployed, they are significantly more likely to remain in long- term unemployment than their younger counterparts.

In the year that the state pension age moves to 66 and universal credit claims amongst the over- 50s have surged to more than 600,000, more needs to be done to tackle systemic ageism in the workplace to help these talented, life- rich workers find meaningful employment.

Additionally, discussing the trend of older workers delaying their retirement in light of COVID-19, Will Wynne, Global MD of Smart said:

While the headline impact of Covid is shocking news for a million people approaching retirement in the UK.  This survey demonstrates that the nature of retirement is changing and fast. We know people want to be in control of their finances, but worryingly 47 per cent of adults aged 55+ who expect to retire or are already retired, want to go it alone. Retirement is complex and people need help if they are to make the most of their savings.

*The YouGov survey , conducted on behalf of Smart in November 2020, surveyed 2114 adults in the UK.

*ONS figures on unemployment, including unemployed in over 50s, were released in November 2020.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.