The number of over 65’s in work has increased by 36% since May 2010, new research reveals.

Figures show that the number of over 65’s in work has increased to 1,09 million and employment among 50 – 64-year-olds has risen from 7.2 million to just under 8 million.

Those aged 65 and older now represent 3.6% of the entire UK workforce and is up 3.4% on a year ago, according to figures from Saga.

Paul Green, Saga’s director of communications, said:

“Thanks in part to the abolition of the default retirement age, many more older people are able to continue in work for as long as they choose to do so, rather than at the whim of their employer.

“However, this good news masks the misery that long-term unemployment causes and more needs to be done to help.

“Recent changes were made by the government, which removed employers’ national insurance for employing younger workers. By extending this further to encourage employment of those in long-term unemployment, it could encourage more employers to take a chance on those who have been out of work for some time, but who are desperate to get back into the workplace.

“We need to stop writing older workers off simply because they have found themselves out of work at an older age, and start making the most of the invaluable skills and experience many have to offer.”

Despite the increase in the number of older people in work, economist Dr. Ros Altman said that unemployment among 50 – 64-year-olds has fallen more slowly than for young people.

Ms Altman, who was recently appointed as the government’s ‘Business Champion for Older People’, reiterated her committed to helping older people find and stay in work.

Critics argue that older people are being forced to work longer due to low wages, changes to how benefits are ‘uprated’ and a reduction in the value of Pension Credit.

The Welfare News Service recently reported on how the TUC say that pensioners are being forced to suffer social security cuts totalling £6 million a year. This figure is expected to rise to nearly £9 million a year after 2015.

The rise in the number of working older people is in stark contrast to the number of unemployed women. Figures show that despite a wider fall in unemployment, joblessness among women remains at 946,000, while 826,000 are in low-paid employment or trapped on controversial zero-hours contracts.