Experts questioned on employment barriers for older people

13 December 2017

The Women and Equalities Committee considers why older people who want to work are not in employment.

In 2010, one in four of the working age population was aged 50 and over and this is projected to increase to one in three by 2022.

By 2035, people aged 50 and over will comprise half of the UK adult population, according to ONS estimates.

But almost one million people aged 50-64 are not in employment but are willing or would like to be.

Purpose of session

In the first evidence session of this inquiry, the Women and Equalities Committee aims to find out the reasons for this, what is known about older people's experiences and issues creating barriers to employment.

MPs will be keen to assess whether Government policy is going in the right direction.
Specifically, the session is likely to focus on these areas:

  • What do older people want from employment in later life?
  • Why older people working matters to business 
  • Age diverse workforces: progress and gaps 
  • Skills and life-long learning 
  • Changing workplace practices and cultures 
  • Age discrimination impacting on employment

Over 50s feel 'discriminated against when trying to find work'

Committee Chair Maria Miller MP said:

"Despite the over 50s making up a significant and increasing proportion of the workforce, many people in this age category feel forgotten about or discriminated against when trying to find work. 
"This could be down to several factors, from employers' understanding of older people to the support and skills they are being equipped with.

Is what is on offer, such as employer advisors, career services and retraining opportunities consistent and available to all over 50s?

I know from speaking to people in my own constituency that awareness of strategies such as Fuller Working Lives is low.
"Government is taking action to tackle these issues but are its policies working?

As our inquiry gets underway, we will carefully consider the current situation, barriers to progress and what more needs to be done."


Wednesday 13 December 2017, Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster.


  • Yvonne Sonsino, Co-Chair, Fuller Working Lives Business Strategy Group
  • Dr Brian Beach, Senior Research Fellow, International Longevity Centre UK
  • Professor Lynda Gratton, Co-author, 'The 100-year life'
  • Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager and lead on fulfilling work, Centre for Ageing Better

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

More news on: Crime, civil law, justice and rights, Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, Equality, Employment and training, Employment, Unemployment, Age discrimination, House of Commons news, Commons news, Committee news

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