Older women fare best in jobs recession

CIPD identifies ‘Madonna Generation’ of successful over-50s

Women aged between 50 and 64 have been the most successful group in the job market since 2008, an analysis by the CIPD has revealed.

The institute’s Work Audit report – Age, gender and the jobs recession – found that there are 200,000 more women from this age group now in employment than at the start of the recession, an increase of 6.2 per cent.

By contrast, the number of men aged 50-64 in the workforce has barely changed during this time. People of both sexes aged 25-34 are the only other group to have seen an increase in employment (of around 4 per cent) while the numbers of younger people in work has fallen as the effects of the downturn hit home.

Across all age groups, there has been a marked fall (2.4 per cent) in the number of men in work since 2008, but almost no change (down 0.05 per cent) in the number of working women, partly because of a sharp increase in the number of women joining the labour market. Another contributing factor is that self-employment amongst women is booming, with numbers in this category up 172,000.

ONS statistics showed that UK unemployment fell by 35,000 in the quarter between December and February, the first time there has been a reduction in the jobless total since May 2011. The slight improvement was attributed to more people taking part-time jobs to get back to work. Unemployment now stands at 2.65 million, or 8.3 per cent.

The older people get the more likely it is that they will remain out of work for longer when unemployed, the CIPD’s analysis confirmed. However, long-term unemployment rates have increased more for younger than older people since the start of the jobs recession, and men are much more likely than women to become long-term unemployed.