Average worker now over 41

Aviva ageing workforceThe average age of a UK worker is now over 41 and the 50-plus cohort will become the largest in the workforce in the next decade, but the rise is not keeping pace with the rise in life expectancy according to analysis of new Office for National Statistics data.

The average age of a UK worker is now 41.3, having risen by three years from 38.3 years old in 1992, an increase of 7.7 per cent, according to an Aviva analysis of ONS stats.

The research shows over 50s now make up the second largest cohort, after those aged 35-to-49. Based on these trends, the over-50s can expect to become the largest cohort in the next decade.

In 2015, the number of workers aged 50-to-64 and aged over 65 hit their highest levels since records began in 1992. In 2015, over 8.3m workers aged 50-to-64 were in employment and over 1.2m workers aged 65+ were in employment. This was out of a total employment population of around 31m. The number of over 50s in work will soon hit 10m – nearly one-in-three of all workers.

But our rising in working age is not keeping pace with our rising life expectancy, especially amongst men, the research shows.

The average age of a working man and woman has risen by 7.2 and 8.5 per cent respectively since 1992. This equates to a rise in average working age of approximately 6 and 7 weeks each year, respectively, since 1992. But latest ONS data predicts our life expectancy will rise even faster. The ONS predict average period life expectancy at birth for a UK man to rise by approximately 10 weeks each year between 2014 and 2039 – from 79.3 to 84.1. They predict average period life expectancy at birth for a UK woman to rise by approximately 8 weeks each year between 2014 and 2039 – from 83.0 to 86.9.

Men still outnumber women, but the gap is narrowing.

Aviva savings and retirement manager Alistair McQueen says: “When it comes to funding our longer lives in retirement, we have two options – save more or work longer. For many, the best response will be a mix of the two.

“Auto-enrolment into workplace pensions has the potential to encourage us to save more, with more than 6 million new pension savers since the system was introduced in 2012. Our analysis however suggests that we have more work to do to encourage and support a longer working life. Our working lives are not keeping pace with our life expectancy.

“Recent Aviva research found that one-in-three workers aged 50 now expect to retire an average of eight years later than they did a decade ago. This suggests that the need to consider working longer is being understood, but it may not be enough. At the same time we found that only a minority of small-to-medium sized employers have plans in place to support longer working.

“A longer working life can be good for personal finances, good for personal wellbeing and good for the long-term health of the UK economy. All concerned are going to have to work longer to encourage longer working.”