Silver self-employed on the rise as more over-70s go freelance 

Pensioners swap retirement for self-employment with more over-70s turning to freelance work

Retirees are increasingly swapping their leisure time for entrepreneurship and freelance work, official figures show.

The number of over-70s who are self-employed has climbed sharply in the past two years.

There has been a 7 per cent rise in workers who are aged between 70 and 79, and a whopping 88 per cent rise in those who are 80 or older, according to data from the Office for National Statistics analysed by over-50s group Rest Less. 

There has been a 7% rise in self-employed workers who are aged between 70 and 79, and a whopping 88% rise in those who are 80 or older

These were the only two age groups that saw a rise from July to September 2021, compared with the same period of 2019.

The wider self-employed workforce shrank 14 per cent to 4.27m over the same time – equivalent to around 682,000 people.

Rest Less said the overall fall was partly down to accounting rules that came into effect in April 2021 and led to many contractors being put onto company payrolls.

But the organisation added that self-employment had become an ‘attractive option’ for older workers because of the flexibility it offers.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said many who have extensive experience and who may have set up businesses during middle age are seizing an ‘opportunity to head out on their own and build something that excites them’.

However, he added: ‘For others, however, it can feel like the only option to earn a living for anyone feeling shut out of the workforce due to age discrimination.’