Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Over 55s delay retirement due to cost-of-living crisis

Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index highlights the global trends impacting the UK job market

  • Over a fifth (22%) of over 55s are postponing retirement due to the cost-of-living crisis
  • 1 in 3 over 55s are more worried than ever before about not having enough to retire
  • Over a third (34%) of employers admit they offer nothing specific to retain talent over the age of 50

Over a fifth of those over 55 in the UK have said that they are deliberately delaying retirement due to the cost-of-living crisis, as research from Totaljobs shows how the wider economic climate continues to bite.  

The latest Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index, which offers an up-to-date view of the labour market and recruitment trends, found that a significant portion of the older population are staying in work, yet skills gaps and labour shortages continue to challenge businesses.

Older workers staving off retirement

The research found that 22% of over 55s are putting a pause on retirement due to the rising cost of living. A third (30%) went as far to say that they’re more worried than ever before about not having enough money for retirement.

Hiring trends over the last three months (July-September 2022):

The quarterly report, which surveys over 1,000 HR decision makers to give the most up to date view of the labour market, shows an increase in hiring last quarter, with 84% of businesses having recruited in Q3 versus the 79% reported in the previous quarter. 35% reported increasing their recruitment in the past quarter. 16% paused recruitment at some point in the past three months (vs 12% in Q2), with 7% actively decreasing recruitment (compared with 5% last quarter).

Retaining staff was a chief concern for over a quarter of UK businesses (26% in Q3) vs 29% in Q2, dipping slightly. The same could be said for labour shortages (23%) and a skills gap (23%) both of which have dropped from 26% and 30% compared to last quarter respectively.

Looking ahead to Q4, 53% of businesses say they are confident in being able to meet their recruitment needs, a slight increase from 50% in Q2. 

The top three job functions recruited for this quarter are operations (29%), technology (23%), sales (19%); in tandem, according to employers. The average time to hire currently sits at 6.79 weeks, on par with the 6.76 weeks it took in Q2.

Incentivising older workers:

Despite the delay in retirement initially staving off even further labour market shortages, over a third (34%) of employers admit they offer nothing specific to attract or retain talent over the age of 50.

When asked specifically, what action is being taken to attract talent over the age of 50, 21% offered support to help plan for retirement – a pertinent need, given 30% of over 55s surveyed said they were more worried than ever about not having enough money for retirement.

Looking at other incentives, 19% offered pay-rises in line with inflation, 16% offered improved flexible working options and 8% offered private healthcare.

Jon Wilson, CEO at Totaljobs, comments:

“The latest data highlights that while skills shortages remain a concern, these concerns have eased ever so slightly. However, the market is by no means steady and businesses would do well to plan ahead.   

Businesses need to look at the wider context if they are hiring over 50s or have a large proportion in their workforce. For example, it’s vital to set up facilities by which these workers can share their knowledge and experience with the younger workforce to ensure that knowledge is shared across the business.

The skills shortage is still a pressing issue, so thinking about transferrable skills across the organisation will also be vital.”

Cost of living remains number one concern for businesses and employees:  

Looking ahead, the cost-of-living crisis is the number one issue facing organisations heading into Q4 (50%), with over half (55%) concerned about the impact this will have on business costs.

The issue is also weighing heavily on employees across the UK. Of those employees planning on leaving their current roles, 43% are doing so to seek a pay rise in line with, or above inflation – up from 37% recorded in February from Totaljobs’ previous research.

When asked what actions their employers would have to take to encourage them to stay, over half (52%) want to see a pay-rise in line with inflation, with 20% stating that they would expect a one-off cost of living bonus.