There were 12.9m people aged 50 and above in the UK in 2020, representing just under one third (31%) of the total working age population at that time.

Of these, 72% were in work, 26% were classed as ‘inactive’ and 2% were unemployed (compared with figures of 77%, 19% and 4% respectively for individuals of working age that were aged 16-49).

Age and economic activity of the working aged population (2020)

Chart showing the age and economic activity of the working aged population (2020)

Source: Analysis of ONS Quarterly Labour Force Survey by BCS
* includes a small number of individuals in work but not as employees / self-employed (i.e., <1% of the total)

The level of representation for individuals aged 50 within the workforce was marginally lower during 2020 (30%) whilst ‘older workers’ accounted for a much lower proportion of the unemployed - 21% in this case.

When considering individuals that were inactive, however, those aged 50 and above accounted for almost four in ten (39%) of the inactive population during 2020 - this high level of representation due largely to the above average proportion that were retired from work.