Women in their late sixties could have a higher employment rate than men of the same age by 2020, according to a survey by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Employment rates for over 65s has risen considerably over the past few years, with the number of older women in employment at its highest level in 40 years.

The IFS report estimated this trend to continue and female employment rates are expected to overtake men in the early 2020s.

A rise in state pension and increasing good levels of health were stated as the main reasons for the trend.

The IFS study, which looked at a range of demographic and financial factors likely to affect over 65s in the next 10 years, found that by 2022-23, the proportion of women aged 65-69 could reach 37%. This figure is up from 16% in 2010-11 and 8% in 2000.

Meanwhile, the percentage of employed men in this age group could rise from 29% to 33% over the same period.

Katy Hood, senior researcher at the IFS, said:

“This reflects improving health, as well as being a response to the rising state pension age. Of course while increasing earnings will boost the incomes of these women, longer working lives will not necessarily leave them better off in a broader sense.”

The state pension is currently 60 for women and 65 for men; under changes to pension rules, the age of retirement for both sexes will rise to 68 over several years. This is not necessarily a negative thing – according to the report, working longer could result in older people being richer and less lonely.

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