More than half of people aged over 50 who have quit their job since the beginning of the Covid pandemic have not looked for a job since, new data has found.
The study, published by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday, found that 55 per cent of those aged between 50 and 65 had not sought a new job after leaving the labour market in March 2020.
Just under one-fifth of those aged 50 to 65 that left work at the start of the pandemic said they were on an NHS waiting list – underlining how the backlog has impacted the labour market. The figure was higher among those who left their previous job due to a health-related condition, at 35 per cent.
Of those who decided to leave their job and not return, over half (51 per cent) had a physical or mental health condition.
Mental health was the most common reason for those aged 50 to 59 who had left work, with 8 per cent saying it was behind their decision not to search for another job.
A massive 72 per cent of people in their 50s would consider going back to work, compared with 58 per cent who said so in February.
And around two-thirds of those people said that they would return to the workplace for the money – a rise on the 56 per cent who said so previously.
The figures highlight how the “great resignation” sparked by the pandemic could be reversing as the cost-of-living crisis bites, accelerated by a rise in gas prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Of those surveyed, nearly a quarter said they could not afford an unexpected expense of £850.
Just 38 per cent of those aged between 50 and 54 revealed they were confident that their retirement provisions would meet their needs, suggesting many feel their pension savings are insufficient.
It compares with the 55 per cent of 60 to 65-year-olds who said they were confident in their retirement savings.