Over half a million ‘silver entrepreneurs’ are now working for themselves beyond retirement age, according to research from Old Mutual Wealth and the Pensions Policy Institute.
One in ten of the UK’s five million self-employed now employ themselves beyond state pension age, equating to 347,000 men and 173,000 women (520,000 in total). The number of self-employed over state pension age has increased by over 20 percent since 2013, up from 432,000.
The research also shows that more than one million people have become self-employed since the 2008 financial crisis, and the Baby Boomer generation (aged 50-69) have seen the fastest growth. They now make up 1.9 million of the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed, suggesting the amount of self-employed people working beyond retirement age may continue to grow.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, acknowledged that the surge in self-employment in recent years could be in part attributed to the greater participation from older workers, in his review of modern working practices.
Previous research highlights that some people do not feel ready to stop working or enjoy the social benefits, however other feel they need to keep working for financial reasons. These people could be turning to self-employment as a flexible source of income, while some have struggled to find other opportunities due to their age.
Head of retirement policy at Old Mutual Wealth, Jon Greer, commented: “Many people are now choosing to phase-out their career and combine work and retirement, rather than simply dropping out of the workforce altogether and going straight into full-time retirement. This trend extends to the self-employed, with silver entrepreneurs now numbering around half a million.
“We’re working longer for all sorts of reasons. Because we value the health benefits, don’t feel ready to finish working or because rising life expectancy means we need to save more.”
He added that the forthcoming auto-enrolment review is “crucial” due to people working for longer because they cannot afford to retire: “The government need to ensure that today’s 30, 40 and 50 years old self-employed are saving into a pension so that they can choose when to retire, whether in their 60s, 70s or beyond.”
Director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), Simon McVicker, said: “It is imperative that we develop some long-term solutions so that today’s young people have greater financial security in older age. Reports like this are a great contribution to that discussion.”