OAP job market boom with seven times more ‘silver workers’ joining the workforce in 2022

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New data reveals that 2022 saw a surge in ‘silver workers’ – employees aged 65 and above – entering the UK workforce.

Over the course of 2022, the number of over 65s in the job market increased by 75,000, according to analysis by HR and psychometric testing consultancy Wilford Scholes.

The 75,000 increase in the number of pensioners in full time employment over the course of 2022 represents a staggering seven-fold jump on 2021’s net increase in over 65 employees. Comparatively, over the course of 2021 the number of silver workers grew by just 9,000.

As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, we’re seeing more and more over 65s join or rejoin the workforce. This significant surge is a sustained one – in 2022, there was an average of 1.36 million over 65s in work at any given point, compared to a lower average of 1.31 million in 2021, and an even lower 1.24 million pre-pandemic, in 2019.

Younger workers rush to job market

As the job market recovers from the shock of the pandemic over the last few years, younger workers too are increasingly turning to full-time employment. 2022 saw an additional 169,000 Gen Z employees – currently aged 18 to 24 – join the workforce over the course of the last 12 months.

At any given point in 2022, there was an average of 3.36 million 18-24 year old employees – the first uptick in the number of 18-24 year olds in the workforce since a sustained dip from 2016 onwards. This could indicate an upward trajectory in the number of 18-24 year olds getting jobs and entering the workforce in the coming months and years.

Culture clash tinderbox

With employment rates high across both age groups in 2022, organisations are experiencing a transformation in their employee demographics. Older and younger workers are storming the job market from both ends – at its peak, 2022 saw 1.5 million employees aged 65 and above, and 3.4 million employees aged 18-24, meaning over 65s are outnumbered in a 2022 workplace 2 to 1 by their Gen Z counterparts.

With Gen Z’s expectations of employers rewriting the rules in the workplace and thousands more over 65s returning to work, the scene is set for a clash of cultures between these two groups. One way businesses can ensure they are taking the right steps to foster an inclusive culture that supports all employees is to put the data gleaned from psychometric testing at the heart of their people strategy.

With a data led deeper understanding of their workforce leaders understand how different employees, with different strengths and skill sets, are best able to work together and support in the development of collaborative and productive teams that complement each other’s expertise.

Colin Wilford, CEO of Wilford Scholes, said:  ““Soaring energy bills and double digit inflation are causing the most severe cost of living crisis in decades – and with people aged over 65 wanting to make their pensions go further and last longer, it’s having an impact on their retirement plans. When you combine that with an ageing population, it has caused a perfect storm that’s bringing huge swathes of retired workers back into the workforce.

As thousands of older people enter the workforce and join the increasing number of Gen Z employees kick-starting their careers, it is vital that businesses take the right steps to create a culture that brings people together productively.”

“A diverse workforce offers untapped potential, and organisations should invest in a data-led approach to HR to understand their employees’ needs, foster the right culture that ensures generational harmony, and provide tailored careers support to boost productivity.”

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