Oxford Institute of Population Ageing logoAre you living in Wiltshire, over 50 and self-employed as a director, owner or CEO of a tech company? The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing is looking for participants for its Older entrepreneurs: Changing work patterns’ project to explore the feelings of this age group about self-employment, and their plans for retirement.

Kate-Hamblin-oxford-institute-ageingWe spoke to Kate Hamblin (pictured left), a Senior Research Fellow at the institute, who tells us that “the project’s aim is to understand the work and retirement aspirations of self-employed older workers in new technology firms. Much has been made in the media of the boom in self-employment among older people, but we would really like to explore whether this is always a positive decision, and whether a comfortable retirement is more difficult for self-employed people.”

The research is important to highlight the changes in the way people are working nowadays. As Kate explains: “The UK has undergone significant changes to its population and labour market since the 1980s. People are now generally living longer, and policymakers are promoting ‘active ageing’, including the extension of working lives by raising the state pension age. At the same time, self-employment in the UK has been steadily increasing, and has the potential to offer flexible and rewarding ‘bridge’ employment leading up to retirement, and also opportunities for those who want to continue to work post-state pension age.”

Building on previous research

This isn’t the first survey that the institute has held on this subject. Kate hopes to build on a similar study held in 2002-4 examining the self-employment and retirement decisions of older workers in the ‘golden triangle’/ M4 corridor area of the UK, in particular in new technology-based firms: “Since the 2002 study, we’ve seen policy changes such as the removal of the default retirement age and the raising of the state pension age for women. We’ve also seen the country move into a recession.

“Are older people better placed to start their own businesses?”


“Self-employment during the recession rose, and those over 50 fifty were the largest share of this increase. What we would like to explore is why this increase might be the case: are older people better placed to start their own businesses because they have the resources and contacts to do so? Or were some made redundant during the recession and have therefore found it hard to return to regular employment?”

Think you can help? You can sign up to participate in Older entrepreneurs: Changing work patterns’ project at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing website. You can also follow them on Twitter here: @oxford_ageing