Chilling signs of the impact of COVID-19 on older workers - Business in the Community

Chilling signs of the impact of COVID-19 on older workers

For the last few years, Business in the Community’s Age campaign has been working hard with responsible businesses to get one million more older workers into employment by 2022. Trends in employment data have shown that we were well on our way to achieving that goal – until today.

Andy Briggs, Chair of Business in the Community’s Age Leadership Team, Group CEO, Phoenix Group and Government Business Champion for Older Workers, said:

“Today’s data from the DWP shows the growth trend in over 50’s employment that had continued for over a decade has stopped. The chilling truth is that this trend has already gone into reverse.  Although the decline in employment between Q1 and Q2 of this year is slight, it is a worrying sign of the full economic impact to come for those over 50.”

Without proper support given to those at the beginning and end of their employment lifecycles we risk losing all the progress that’s been made to date. This is because we expect employment numbers for the young and old to be severely impacted by job cuts and the ending of the furlough scheme. Already the data released today shows that c. 60% of over 50’s who leave work are not doing so for their choice of retirement but because of redundancy or other negative reasons.  

The over 50s in particular are most likely to struggle to find employment once out of work so it’s important we protect this age group, otherwise they could face a lifetime of poverty in their later years. This would be a travesty for their generation, but also for businesses across the UK. The over 50s bring a wealth of diversity and expertise to the workforce and they should be celebrated, supported and not left to sleep walk into their retirement.”


Notes to editors

To find out more, contact Isabel Wilkinson, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy, Business in the Community on 07702 903 216 or

About Business in the Community
Business in the Community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow
  • build thriving communities where people want to live and work
  • innovate to sustain and repair our planet.