Specifically, there are 271,000 (8%) more women aged 50-64 in the labour market than at the start of the recession and 200,000 (6.2%) more in work. Over all age groups, there are 387,000 fewer men in work (a net fall of 2.4%) than in the first quarter of 2008, while the number of women in work is only 8,000 (0.05%) lower.
The report also finds that, the older people get, the more likely it is that they will remain out of work for longer when unemployed, although long-term unemployment rates have increased more for younger than older people since the start of the jobs recession.
According to Dr John Philpott, Chief Economic Adviser at the CIPD:
While a combination of population ageing and fewer people wanting to retire early, either for financial reasons or because of a broader desire to prolong their working lives, is boosting the older workforce, it is older women that are getting most of the available jobs. Just why this is happening requires further examination, though with the modern generation of 50 something women more likely to view Madonna than Grandma Grey as a role model, the economically active older woman is well on course to be ever more prominent in British workplaces in the coming years.Source: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Press Release (April 18, 2012)
However, the relatively good outcome for older women during the recession is no cause for complacency about the need to continually stress the business case for an even more age diverse workforce as the economy starts to recover, especially with so much public policy action understandably focused on cutting youth unemployment. Simplistic talk about older people staying in jobs at the expense of the young must not be allowed to put a brake on progress toward nudging employers to do even better in coping with demographic change. An ageing workforce presents both challenges and opportunities for employers, who at some point in the not too distant future will struggle to fill vacancies unless they recruit and retain older workers, women and men, in even far greater numbers.