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CIPD Work Audit finds middle aged Britons bypassed by jobs recovery

CIPD Work Audit finds middle aged Britons bypassed by jobs recovery

Two-thirds of the 350,000 additional jobs created in the UK in 2010 have gone to young people aged under-35, with the remainder filled by people aged-over 50. People in the 35-49 year age bracket (easily the largest single age demographic in the workforce, comprising almost 11 million workers) have therefore missed out and continue to register a rise in unemployment. The number of middle aged Britons in work is now 320,000 (2.9%) lower than at the start of the recession in spring 2008.

This is the key finding from the latest Work Audit of official labour market statistics The 2010 Jobs Recovery - published today by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Dr John Philpott, author of the report and the CIPDs Chief Economic Adviser comments: It is not clear why 35-49 year olds have so far been bypassed by the jobs recovery. One possibility is that this group has received less help and support from policy makers than either younger or older people. Despite losing out in the recovery, middle aged workers still have relatively high employment rates and relatively low unemployment rates so dont figure on the radar of social concern. Another possibility is that because middle aged workers are at, or approaching, their peak career earnings they may be less attractive to some employers than younger or older workers who can be employed at less cost. Or it could be that for people in mid-career, and at a time of life when their role as family breadwinner is at its height, the prospect of downshifting into a part-time or temporary job is not an attractive option, while alternatives open to the younger and older person such as entering a course of study or early retirement are not practical.

The fact that such a large and core part of the workforce has been slow to benefit from the jobs recovery makes it easy to understand why so many people remain unconvinced that the economy is really on the up. Things should improve for this group once the economy starts to generate more full-time and permanent jobs. But with slower growth likely in 2011, middle aged Britons may continue to feel bypassed in the labour market for a little while longer yet.

The CIPD Work Audit also finds:

Employees account for just under two-thirds (63%) of the 350,000 jobs added to the economy between the first and third quarters of 2010 (the remainder is mostly self employed people (30%), a small group of unpaid family workers (6%) and also people on government jobs schemes (1%).

More than 9 in 10 (95%) of the additional employees in employment are working part-time, while 1 in 3 of the additional employees are working in temporary jobs. There has been no recovery in full-time permanent jobs for employees.
Men account for more than 8 in 10 (83%, or 289,000) of the jobs added to the economy in 2010.

Commenting on the gender breakdown of new jobs, Dr Philpott said: The relative experience of men and women in the labour market in 2010 is the reverse of what happened during the course of the recession in 2008 and 2009. At that time women benefited from their relatively high representation in the public sector which saw a small rise in employment while the private sector was shedding jobs (women account for two thirds of public sector jobs). The era of fiscal austerity is likely to be as uncomfortable for women as the recession was for men.

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