There were nearly 200,000 men aged 50 and older out of work between September and November 2021 according to Rest Less.

The digital community site for over 50s says this is an increase of 24 percent in two years. Using ONS data, Rest Less found that unemployed men aged 50+ are significantly more likely to be in long-term unemployment than any other age group.

In September – November 2021, there were 99,000 men aged 50+ out of work for at least 12 months – up from 59,000 in the same time period two years prior.  Meanwhile, 28 percent of unemployed men aged 50 and older were unemployed for two years or more.

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less said: “The fact that half of all unemployed men aged over 50 have been unemployed for more than 12 months is shocking and a timely wake-up call to government and industry that we need to do more to ensure that our post-pandemic jobs plan supports people of all ages.”

He added that 50 and 60 year olds in 2022 are missing out on the final salary pensions their parents enjoyed as well as a full working life under new pensions auto-enrolment.

Mr Lewis said: ‘Contrary to the belief that this is an age group with all the money, the reality for many 50 and 60 year olds could not be further from the truth.  Faced with a rapidly increasing state pension age and widespread ageism in the recruitment process, once out of work, many struggle to make ends meet until they reach the safety net of the state pension.

Table 1: Proportion of unemployed men by age group, by duration of unemployment – Sept-Nov 2021

Age Up to 6 months 6-12 months All 12 months +
18-24 59% 15% 27%
25-49 46% 15% 40%
50+ 38% 12% 50%

Rest Less also compared the latest long-term unemployment by age group data with two years ago, pre-Covid.  The analysis shows that the pandemic has exacerbated long-term unemployment amongst all age groups. Across all age groups over the past two years, the proportion of people unemployed for at least 12 months has increased (Table 2).

Table 2: Proportion of unemployed men and women by age group in unemployment for at least 12 months

Age Sept – Nov 2021 Sept – Nov 2019
18-24 25% 14%
25-49 33% 26%
50+ 41% 34%


Emily Andrews, Deputy Director for Evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:  “The shape of the post-pandemic employment crisis is now clear, and it’s the over 50s, who are hardest hit, suffering the consequence of an ageist labour market.”

She added: “Following many years of growth, the employment rate among 50-64s is now falling. As well as those who are now unemployed, we are seeing large numbers who are leaving the workforce altogether.”