Nearly half of the over-50s workers made redundant in the past three years have yet to find a new job, new research from leading independent over-55s adviser Key Retirement Solutions shows. And two-thirds of those who have found other work have had to take a pay cut in order to get back into employment. The research paints a bleak picture of the employment prospects for the over-50s – and it shows the pressures of redundancy become much worse at 55-plus.

The study found 48% of over-50s workers made redundant in the past three years have yet to find another with 66% of those getting back into work taking pay cuts. Around 48% of them admit they have had to take a substantial pay cut. People under-50 made redundant in the past three years have also suffered but only 33% have failed to find another job and 53% have had to take pay cuts with 23% admitting to substantial drops in salary. The worst-affected age group however is the over-55s – where 60% of them have yet to find another job while 72% have had to take pay cuts.

Key Retirement Solutions launched the research in response to a growing trend for over-50s customers inquiring about equity release plans which are only available to over-55s. Around one in five equity release plans were taken out by before the age of 65 in the three months to June 30th. And it believes the pressure of redundancy at 50-plus underlines the importance of maximising income through pension savings and other assets

Dean Mirfin, Group Director at Key Retirement Solutions (www.keyrs.co.uk), said: “Redundancy at 50-plus is wrecking retirement plans with people struggling to find other jobs and those who do having to adjust to substantial pay cuts.

“It underlines the real need for financial planning and taking advice in order to have some back-up in the event of redundancy. We continue to see people at younger ages applying for equity release to shore up their finances and would urge anyone made redundant in their 50s to focus on the solutions available. There are solutions with many people having built up substantial wealth in their homes and in retirement savings but advice is vital in order to maximise income.”

The study shows that over-55s take on average 11.6 months to get back into work compared with 5.1 months for those aged 50 to 55. That drops substantially for younger age groups – around 51% of 18 to 24-year-olds made redundant in the past three years found another job within one to three months.

There is some good news for the over-50s – nearly 70% of those who are in work are not worried about the risk of redundancy over the next 12 months. That is better than for the under-50s where just 63% are not worried about the threat of redundancy over the next year.

BY EDITOR, HRREVIEW  OCTOBER 1, 2013