Published On: Thu, Jan 21st, 2021

State pension age changes: WASPI women face ‘fresh challenges’ in bid to fill pension gaps | Personal Finance | Finance

It comes as new analysis of Office of National Statistics (ONS) data has found the over 50s age group are two and a half times as likely as younger age groups to be unemployed for at least two years. The unemployment data, issued in December 2020, suggests there are 407,000 unemployed over 50s in the UK, making up one in four (24 percent) of all unemployed people.

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “Our analysis clearly shows that older people out of work are more prone to long-term unemployment than other age groups in the same position.

“With the state pension age having risen to 66, we are particularly worried that this drift from short to long-term unemployment ultimately risks a lost generation of unemployed over 50s forced into an early retirement they neither want nor can afford.

“Too often, highly skilled workers in their 50s and 60s suffer from age discrimination in the recruitment process, often being told they are ‘over qualified’ – a concept that simply doesn’t make sense.

“More tailored support and comprehensive retraining for the over 50s in the early stages of unemployment is required in order to reduce the disproportionate number of older workers drifting into long term unemployment – where confidence can be badly hit and it can become even harder to get back into the workforce.


“Prior to the pandemic, 80 percent of employment growth in the UK came from workers over the age of 50.

“If we want to bounce back from this devastating recession as quickly as can be, we need employment and re-employment policies that work to bring all age groups back into the workplace and harness the often overlooked talent of the over 50s.”

Following the analysis, spoke to the campaign group WASPI about the matter.

WASPI is calling for “fair transitional arrangements” for women born in the 1950s who have been impacted by the state pension age changes under the Pensions Act 1995 and the Pensions Act 2011 – with the latter accelerating the changes to the state pension age for women.

Commenting on unemployment for the over 50s, a WASPI spokesperson said: “Members of WASPI – (Women Against State Pension Inequality) have long reported to us their experiences of problems finding work in their 60s.

“Consequently, this report from Rest Less comes as no surprise to them.

“Many have found themselves in the humiliating position of being told not to put their age on job applications, or to find themselves applying for jobs for which they are ‘over qualified’ because they are the only interviews they get offered.

“The proposals from the Government of apprenticeships and support back into work in later life have proved to be baseless.”

The spokesperson went on to address how the coronavirus pandemic has had a further impact on many of the women affected.

“COVID-19 has presented fresh challenges for WASPI women, many of whom work in the gig economy, on short term contracts or part time in retail or care work.

“Women who when unable to find work have started their own small businesses, to fill the gap between their original state pension age and their new one, now find those opportunities failing due to the pandemic.

“WASPI call on the Government to take into urgent consideration of the needs of women born in the 1950s, who saw increases to their state pension age of up to six years, without time or opportunity to make alternative pension arrangements.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Experienced workers are a huge asset to this country and our Plan for Jobs is supporting people of all ages back into work.

“We are doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches, offering tailored support to ensure people find a job that’s right for them and our new £2.9billion Restart Scheme will provide tailored support for people across the UK who have been out of work for at least 12 months.”

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