The Independent published an interesting article this morning regarding that of a ‘Forgotten Army’ – women over the age of 50 who are actively job seeking, and seemingly meeting nothing but failure along the way.
Although overall, UK’s employment levels are constantly improving, it hides the ugly truth of this section of middle aged women in society and their struggle to gain employment. Numbers are reported that the level of unemployed women aged 50 and over has risen from 111,000 in 2010, to 161,000, which shows an increase of 45%. Unemployed men within the same age range during this period actually did the complete opposite; numbers dropped by 13%, going from 264,000 to 229,000. The public sector jobs that are being lost due to the deficit-reduction programme are also taking a lot of jobs from these women. Combine all this with the statistic that women still face earning an average of 16% less than men in general, middle aged women are facing definite obstacles.
Many are heading back to the workforce to help increase their families’ incomes. Especially since the state pension has just recently increased the age for women from 60 to 65, and with studies that show we now are having longer life expectancy, more are now actively seeking employment. Some economists argue however, that this sudden influx of women returning to the workforce is because of the recent pension age changes, and is being overly dramatized. Nonetheless, ideas have been voiced to perhaps offer retraining to women coming back into the workplace so that they have an equal chance for hiring, or to investing more in social care. It seems now, that the pressure is now upon the government to take action and try and help this section of society.
MaryEllen Fenton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist