More women in the UK working beyond 60

More women in the UK are working past the age of 60, according to a report out today which takes a look at trends in the job market over a two-year period.

This development is thought to be due to changes in legislation which mean that women have to wait longer until they can claim the state pension, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Since April 2010 the age at which women can first receive their state pension has been rising from 60. The state pension age for women currently stands at 61 years and five months and is due to rise to 66 by 2020.

Among those women directly affected by the reform, employment has increased. Moreover, the change has also impacted on the retirement age of some of the husbands of the affected women. The IFS says that this may be because they are delaying their own retirement so that both partners can retire together, or to cover their wives’ lost pension income with additional earnings.

Figures from the IFS report show that employment rates among 60-year-old women increased by 7.3 percentage points following the one-year increase in the female state pension age, from 60 to 61, between April 2010 and April 2012. This means that in April 2012 there were 27,000 more women in work than there would otherwise have been.

Over the same period, employment rates among the husbands of these women increased by 4.2 percentage points, which resulted in 8,300 more men staying in work. Taken together, there were around 35,000 more men and women in work as a direct result of the increase in the female state pension age from 60 to 61, despite the weak performance of the UK economy over that time, said Jonathan Cribb, a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and a co-author of the report.

Cribb also highlighted the fact that more than half of women aged 60 are now in paid work for the first time ever.

The IFS concludes that as a result of these changes in the working population the UK’s public finances have been strengthened by around GBP2.1bn.