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Understanding ‘Early Exiters’: the case for a healthy ageing workforce strategy

Ageing workforce Public health Burden of disease Chronic diseases Older people United Kingdom

Compared to before the pandemic, there are over 100,000 more people aged 50-64 who are no longer in work because of a long-term health condition. The United Kingdom is an outlier in this regard - it is the only high-income country which has seen a sustained rise in economic inactivity among this age group since the start of the pandemic. 

This report, produced in partnership with the Physiological Society, explores this issue in greater detail. The research shows that, among those aged 50-64 whose work has been impacted by poor health, 24% took early retirement as a result, and 19% reduced their working hours. The researchers also found that the vast majority of ‘Early Exiters’ said they had left work against their own wishes, with some saying the decision had been taken out of their hands. 

The report therefore calls for the first ever ageing workforce strategy: a cross-government approach, including tax incentives to improve access to occupational health, better integration of health and employment support, and more scientific and physiological research to weaken the link between ill health and older age.

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