Our Employment solicitor, Alex Christen, discusses recent research that shows the number of women working into their 70s is on the rise

Women are catching up with men in the workplace in many respects. The gender pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been (although there's still some way to go) and diversity is a hot topic at many a board room.

What won't therefore come as a surprise is that the proportion of women working into their 70's has almost doubled since 2012. If the numbers continue to grow at their current rate, the percentage of female workers in their 70's will match those of men within the next 4 years.

So why the increase? Inevitably there are a number of factors including a general need across the board to supplement retirement funds. What makes this need more prevalent for women is the fact that historically, women have taken more time out of work to look after children, leaving gaps in their national insurance contributions which has led to smaller state pensions.

Earlier this year the Government launched an initiative aimed at encouraging those over 50 to consider second careers on the basis that it would boost physical and mental wellbeing (as well as the bank balance). Businesses are being encouraged to embrace flexible working and lifetime knowledge transfers. The message from the government is clear - the demands on the public purse are real and we need to do something about it.

While this is all well and good, businesses should not lose focus of wider workplace diversity issues and should strive to attract the widest range of talents without having to label them as 'younger' or 'older' workers.