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Older workers forming larger part of the workforce

Older workers are making up an increasing proportion of the UK workforce, new official figures have suggested.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the number of people aged 65 and over who are still working has doubled during the past ten years.

In the last quarter of 2010, 270,000 full-time British workers were over 65, the equivalent to 2.7 per cent of the retirement population.

While that 2.7 per cent may not seem significant, it is a sign of changing employment times. Back in 2001, only 106,000, or 1.2 per cent of the retirement population, were still in the workplace.

The figures become more even more marked if part-time employment is taken into account.

In the last quarter of 2010, some 600,000 people aged 65 and over were working part-time. Ten years ago, there were just 306,000 part-time employees over 65.

Combined, the new figures total 870,000 workers over the current state retirement age, or 3 per cent of the entire national workforce.

According to the statistics, employment rates among the over-65s actually climbed during the recession, with large numbers of older workers remaining in their jobs rather than seeking new employment.

In the three months to the end of December, 83 per cent of the over-65s had been continuously employed by their current employer for five years or more, with two-fifths clocking up 20 years or more with the same boss.