According to the latest labour market figures published today by the ONS, in the final quarter of 2013 77.1% of men aged 16-64 were in work, up from 76.8% in the previous quarter and 76.6% a year earlier. However, the employment rate for men remains 2.4 points below what it was before the 2008-09 downturn.
The female employment rate in contrast experienced a relatively muted fall in employment in the downturn, and combined with the effects of changes in legislation such as raised state pension age and the eligibility for Lone Parent Income Support (LPIS), has experienced a strong recovery.
In Q4 2013, the employment rate for women increased to 67.2%, which is the highest figure on record.
Commenting on the figures Malcolm McLean, says:
“The increase in the number of women in employment and working on to later ages is a promising sign for the future. These latest figures suggest that more and more women will be able to better provide for themselves in retirement.
“For too long women have been the poor relations compared with men in relation to pension provision both from the state in the form of the state pension and from private arrangements in the workplace.
“Obtaining and holding down a job should give them greater parity with their male counterparts and provides an opportunity for a catch-up in this important area.
“As we move forward many women will also benefit from the introduction of the single-tier state pension in 2016 and the roll out of the programme for automatically enrolling all eligible workers into an employer supported workplace pension arrangement.”