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The ‘great resignation’ and the over-50s

  • by JW

“I think about it as the ‘life reappraisal’.”


People have been leaving the work market in their millions:

The ‘great resignation’ and the future of work – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The ‘great resignation’ may be here to stay – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The ‘great resignation’ still at work in Sidmouth – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The government’s ONS has looked further into this:

Reasons for workers aged over 50 years leaving employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – Office for National Statistics

Last month, retirees were being encouraged to go back to work:

The boss of John Lewis has said that the 1 million mostly over-50s who left their jobs during the Covid pandemic should be encouraged back to work to tackle the labour shortage that is pushing up inflation and wages. Dame Sharon White, a former second permanent secretary at the Treasury and chief executive of media and postal regulator Ofcom, said she had never seen such a difficult economic situation facing businesses.

“One area that I think has not had enough attention is what has happened in the jobs market over the last 18 months,” she said, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday. “Regardless of what is happening coming out of Covid, if the labour market is that tight, if we continue to have far fewer people in work – or looking for work – you have inevitably got more inflation and wage inflation.”

About 1 million people in the UK have left work since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, with retirement the most popular reason given by people aged between 50 and 70, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“We now have 1 million fewer people in work,” said White, the chair of John Lewis Partnership, which also owns the Waitrose supermarket chain. “Some think about it as the ‘great resignation’. I think about it as the ‘life reappraisal’ because this is predominantly people in their 50s.”

Get over-50s back to work to tackle UK labour shortage, says John Lewis boss | Sharon White | The Guardian

And on the front page of today’s WMN, an Exeter employment agency was urging the same:

Over-50s urged to get back to work, by Philip Bowern

Businesses across the South West are being urged to make it easier for older workers to stay on in the office or return to the factory floor in an effort to reverse economic decline. The call comes from a leading regional employment agency as official figures show the number in their 50s and 60s who are economically inactive has reached the highest levels for more than 15 years.

Businesses across the region are facing a serious skills shortage. But thousands of older workers, furloughed or laid off during the pandemic, have delayed their return to the workplace. In part it is because they feel increasingly disillusioned and undervalued, according to Exeter-based recruitment agency Cathedral Appointments.

Jo Caine, managing director, said the Westcountry had workers who had dropped out early and many older people who had relocated to the region for lifestyle reasons. Both groups, she said, could be tempted back to work – if businesses took a more proactive approach to employing older staff. “It is so important for employers to rethink their hiring strategies and remember that there is a world of talent that can deliver real value to the business beyond the pool they are currently fishing in.”

Western Morning News –

Recruitment Agency in Exeter, Devon | Cathedral Appointments

The trade magazine People Management is saying the same:

Three in five workforce leavers over 50 would consider returning, data shows