Over half a million pensioners pushed into the gig economy as retirement savings dwindle

Oliver Gill
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Experts warned some people are working longer because they can't afford to retire (Source: Getty)

Over half a million pensioners are working in the gig economy in order to fund their retirement, according to research released today.

The number of "silver entrepreneurs" has leapt by 20 per cent since 2013, Old Mutual and the Pensions Policy Institute said.

In a joint report, the two organisations issued a warning to the government to "ensure older workers aren’t driven into self-employment as a last resort".

Changing work practices mean one in ten of the UK’s 5m self-employed now employs themselves beyond state pension age – 347,000 men and 173,000 women (520,000 in total).

Old Mutual said its previous analysis shows some people feel they need to keep working for financial reasons because they cannot afford to retire. These people could be turning to self-employment as they search for a flexible source of income or it may not have been a choice.

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Old Mutual head of retirement Jon Greer said: “Our approach to work and retirement is changing. Many people are now choosing to phase-out their career and combine work and retirement, rather than simply dropping out of the workforce altogether.

“But we can’t ignore the fact that some people are working longer because they can’t afford to retire.

He continued: "The government need to ensure that today’s 30, 40 and 50 years old self-employed are saving into a pension so that they can choose when to retire, whether in their 60s, 70s or beyond.”

Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed director of policy Simon McVicker said: "Working in later life should always be a choice though, unfortunately, some people continue working because they don’t have the financial provisions in place to retire."

Read more: Jobs tsar warns MPs minimum wage rules would end gig economy

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