Above average employment of over 50s in Bristol


Bristol is bucking the trend when it comes to the number of adults over 50 in full-time employment, BBC-commissioned research suggests.

Figures from Experian show that between April 2009 and March 2010 44.6% of Bristolians aged 50 or over were working. The English average is 38%.

Top of the list is Oxford with 62.4% and bottom is Boston, Lincolnshire, with only 26.5%.

Age UK Bristol said it was good to see older workers' skills recognised.

'Cost of living'

Researchers at Experian said the ability to continue working later in life is an indicator of a good quality of life.

The research looked at how areas of England will be affected by an increasing ageing population.

Alicia Webster, from Age UK Bristol, said it was encouraging to see employers in Bristol recognising the value, experience and skills of older workers.

"Whilst it is good to see that a larger number of older people in Bristol are being given equal access to employment, there could also be other factors involved," she said.

"One possible explanation for the high percentage could be linked to the cost of living. Bristol is an expensive city to live in; transport is costly and property prices are high.

"Many older people need to work longer to afford themselves a reasonable quality of life. Relying solely on their retirement pension's income may not be enough to meet Bristol's high living costs."

Nigel Hutchings, director of chambers of commerce at GWE Business West said Bristol's bigger employers like the MoD will have a high proportion of people over 50 as well as Rolls Royce, Airbus and the four universities.

"There's probably a cumulative affect across service sector, with more highly paid professional services in law and accountancy, plus the sole trader factor and then lifestyle choice," he added.

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