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Number of workers aged 65 and over tops a million for first time

The number of UK workers aged 65 and over has reached a million for the first time. Almost one in ten people in this age group are in employment, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Both the number of people in work and the employment rate for those aged 65 and over are currently at their highest since comparable records began in 1992.

The ONS said that the rise was partly to do with the rise in the number of people staying on work since the phasing out of the Default Retirement Age began in 2011, but also because the UK population is getting older.

The milestone was reached as research was published revealing that six out of ten employees feared they wouldn't be up to doing their jobs if they had to work into old age to fund their retirement. Two-thirds said they were worried about developing a serious illness that could affect their ability to do their job, according to the same survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Despite their fears, two-thirds of respondents also admitted that they weren't taking the minimum recommended weekly exercise of two-and-a-half hours per week. The CSP said that people needed 'to develop and maintain healthy habits' if they were going to retire later.

Other research has shown that declines in physical and cognitive abilities associated with older age do not necessarily translate into reduced performance at work. They are often more than compensated for by the skills and experience gleaned over many years.

But the results of the CSP survey did suggest that more could be done by employers to encourage their staff to attend to their wellbeing and to prepare them for a longer career.

Acas has not only published detailed advice on the positive impact the workplace can have on health and wellbeing in its pdf  Advisory booklet - Health Work and Wellbeing [603kb], but also runs practical training courses on Health, work and wellbeing aimed at creating a better, healthier and more productive working environment. Acas also provides training on issues surrounding Age and the repeal of the Default Retirement Age.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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