State pension age rise ‘has pushed vast number of women in their 60s into work’

There has been a big increase in the number of women aged between 60 and 64 in work since the female state pension age was raised, a new study suggests.

The total has jumped by 51% since 2010, when the new pension age of 65 came into effect, said Rest Less, a jobs, volunteering and guidance site for the over 50s.

There were 644,674 women aged between 60 and 64 in work at the end of 2009, but in the same period in 2019, the number was almost one million, research indicated.

This contrasts with an increase of 127,882, or 13%, in the number of men working aged between 60 and 64 over the same period, said Rest Less.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said: "The rapid increase in the women's state pension age since 2010 has had a profound impact on women in their 60s.

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"The employment rate of women aged between 60 and 64 has increased from 34% to 51% in just 10 years.

'"As well as adjusting to the financial implications of the new state pension age, the added frustration for many comes from the continued challenge to find meaningful work in their 60s when age discrimination in the workplace remains all too prevalent.

"Demographic changes in the UK are only moving in one direction.

"Progressive employers who start embracing age in the workplace by introducing programs to attract, engage and retain talented older workers will be the ones who prosper in the coming decade."

Patrick Thompson of the Centre for Ageing Better, commented: "For the first time in the UK there are more women aged 60-64 in work than not.

"This is a seismic shift, with profound implications for the economy and for women in later life.

"For many women this will be a positive choice, with work providing financial independence, an opportunity to save for retirement, meaning and purpose.

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"For others this will be the culmination of inequalities that have built up over a lifetime, remaining in low paid, insecure or poor quality work and delaying retirement through financial necessity."

It comes after years of battles for around 3.8million women born in the 1950s, who are having their state pension age hiked so it reaches 66 by this autumn.

Ministers say the change is to make women's retirement age equal to men's – and would cost £181bn to fully reverse.

Two women took legal action saying the rises were unlawful age and sex discrimination and came with too little notice. But two judges at the High Court dismissed their claim.

The Back to 60 group has since won permission to contest the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

The Back to 60 campaign – which brought the case – says women had a "legitimate expectation" to receive their pension aged 60 and demands "the return of those earned dues".

Separately, Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is calling for "fair transitional arrangements" to help women financially, but not a full return to age 60.

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