Print

08/03/2014 - Women forced to work longer and face disadvantage

retirementageWomen face working till they drop yet still face disadvantage

A big new survey shows that more and more women are having to stay at work longer. It also shows that women continue to get a worse deal on promotion and training.

More than5,500 women were surveyed by UNISON to focus attention on the rise in the number staying at work longer. The union is warning that the rise in the state pension age will only exacerbate this trend.

However, the survey shows that women have fewer chances for promotion or moving to a higher-grade job. Many have to remain in full time employment beyond the age of 64 – at a time when they could be winding down and looking forward to retirement. One in three has primary caring responsibility for an adult dependent, with few options for flexible working or work-life balance.

UNISON Assistant General Secretary Karen Jennings said: “The world of work for women over the age of 50 is changing dramatically. Many of these older women, suddenly find that they have to work years longer than they expected.

“Rapid rises in the state pension age, the government’s austerity agenda and the disproportionate impact it has on women, have combined to force the change.”

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity said:

“There is growing pressure on everyone to work till they drop. The retirement age is going up anyway but financial pressures will mean that is a minimum for many. The Unison survey shows not just that women are being forced to give up dreams of retirement but also that they still face considerable disadvantages at work. This has to change.”

The survey found:

* 61% of women of 50+ work full-time
* 20% work 25-34 hours
* More than 50% of women aged 60-64 work full-time
* 33% 65+ are still working full-time
* 25% of women 50+ who work part-time because that is all the hours available in their job
* 33% say they would increase their hours; 50% of those in lowest grade jobs say the same
* 25% of women 50+ work part-time because they can manage financially
* Nearly 10% of women have more than one paid job
* More than 33% would like to move to a higher grade/job
* Fewer than 6% feel they have good promotion opportunities