There are many reasons to be interested in the employment of older people. At a micro level, income from employment could help individuals to top up other sources of ‘retirement’ income. There is also some evidence that continuing to engage in intellectually engaging tasks (for example, through work) into older age can help to preserve cognitive functioning. At a macro level, older people make up a large and increasing share of the population and thus their labour supply fundamentally affects England’s productive capacity.
In this briefing note we use data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to describe patterns of employment and self-employment among people aged between 50 and 74 in England in 2012–13. We focus on England because, unfortunately, comparable data on the circumstances of older people in the rest of the UK are not currently available. While the LFS covers the whole of the UK, ELSA – which provides detailed information on the wealth, health and other characteristics of older people – covers only England.
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