Number of over-65s in Scotland still working doubles

Older people are having to work longer.

Scotland has seen the number of over-65s still working almost double over the past decade, new figures have revealed.

A Scottish Government report on employment patterns revealed 84,700 people were working beyond the traditional retirement age.

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According to the document, 55.8 per cent of those working beyond the age of 65 said they were “not ready” to stop.

A total of 13 per cent said they needed to keep working to pay for essential items and 6 per cent said they needed to boost their pension pots.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “It’s worrying that an increasing number of older Scots feel they have to continue working due to money concerns.

“Our research suggests that this is a growing problem, with 43 per cent of those aged 40 to 64 saying they won’t be able to afford to retire at 65. There’s a clear need for more guidance to help people plan ahead for their working life and retirement.”

A total of 2,618,100 people aged 16 years and over were in employment in Scotland in 2017 – the highest level on record.

The figures showed the overall employment rate for 2017 was 74.3 per cent – the highest ever, but lower than the UK rate of 74.7 per cent for last year. Full-time employment reached a new record level in Scotland with 1,910,600 people in that category.

A total of 322,900 Scots were self-employed in 2017, close to the highest-ever level since the research began, with an increasing number of women opting to be their own boss.

There were an increasing number of Scots classed as being “economically inactive” – meaning they are not in work but are not looking for a job – a group that includes many students and people with caring responsibilities.

There were 768,900 people in this category in 2017, an increase of 15,100 since 2007. Scotland’s rate of economic inactivity was also higher than the UK at 22.5 per cent compared to 21.8 per cent.

The figures also showed lower employment rates for Scots who are either disabled or part of a minority ethnic population.

The proportion of able-bodied people in work was 81.2 per cent compared to a total of 45.4 per cent for the disabled.

Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “The fact is in SNP Scotland nearly half a million Scots are paid less than a living wage and almost a quarter of a million are trapped in precarious work.”