Number of people aged 50 and over has increased by 330,000 in the past decade – SOLAS



The number of people aged 50 years or over resident in Ireland has increased by 330,000 over a ten-year period since 2008. That’s according to SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, who today (07.08.2019) has launched a report by their Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) into the labour market of older workers. Older workers are classified here as people aged 50 years and over.

Speaking at the report launch, Joan McNaboe, Manager of the SLMRU, said: “This report focuses primarily on those in employment aged 50 to 59 across a number of areas. The overall workforce participation rate for the 50 to 59-year-old cohort has increased by almost five per cent (from 70.9 per cent in 2008 to 75.3 percent in 2018), driven by an increased number of females in employment.

“We believe that the provision of supports for this group will facilitate an increase in the participation rate of older workers in future years.”


Research into education levels of older workers

The report also looked into the education levels of older workers. Findings from the report include:

  • Of the 425,000 persons employed aged 50 to 59, 41% had an upper secondary education; and
  • Of those in employment with a third level qualification, two thirds had gained their qualification before 2000.


Also speaking at the report launch was Nikki Gallagher, Director of Communications and Secretariat with SOLAS, who said: “These results show that engaging in lifelong learning is key – for workers of all ages. The further education and training system has a suite of options which can facilitate the reskilling and upskilling of older workers.  This can allow people to remain in the workplace for as long as they want to, creating an age-friendly workplace environment.”


Commenting further on the report, Ms Gallagher said that “technological change is going to have an impact on those employed in certain sectors in the coming years, namely the elementary, administrative, sales and operative roles. Just over one-third of the population aged 50 to 59 are employed in these occupations, and measures must be put in place to ensure that workers are given opportunities to reskill.”


Findings for the population aged 60 and over

The report also looked into those aged 60 and older. Of this age group, 22 per cent of the population were in employment in 2018. Breaking this down further:

  • 61 per cent were male;
  • Just over 38 per cent were self-employed;
  • Agriculture, health and wholesale/retail were the sectors with the most people in employment aged over 60.


Further information on SOLAS can be found here:

Click here to download report …