PBE Reacts: ONS labour market statistics, April 2022 Rachel Gomez, Economist at Pro Bono Economics, said: “These latest statistics show the struggle to fill jobs is continuing for employers, with vacancies standing at a record 1.29 million. Older workers have now been leaving the workforce in increasing numbers for six successive quarters since September 2020. In total, an additional 579,000 over-50s have left the workplace when compared to pre-pandemic levels, most likely due to retirement and long-term sickness. “Government and the private sector are missing an opportunity if they don't spring into action to stem this tide. This glut of potential older workers could be wooed back by employers willing to throw off ageist stereotypes and show they value this experienced group, helping to fill the growing vacancies. “Charities have a huge role to play in meeting these challenges. There are dozens of organisations around the UK that specialise in providing tailored support for both workers and employers dealing with long-term sickness. Similarly, charities such as the Centre for Aging Better are doing great work uncovering how age discrimination affects workers and employers and advising them on how to remedy it. “Significantly, the increasing number of retirees choosing to leave the workplace for good represent a small battalion of potential volunteers for charities to utilise. Not only would this bolster the sector at a time of soaring demand and falling income, it would also benefit the newly-retired. Volunteering is known to boost wellbeing and enables retirees to stay active and give something back to their communities.” Contact PBE's press office.