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Millions of mid-life employees expected to quit jobs to provide care

Over 2.6 million employees aged 45 and over expect that they will have to leave their jobs in order to care for a relative or partner, according to new research from Aviva1.


At Aviva, we don’t claim to have all the answers, but we feel a responsibility to help. We have introduced a carers’ policy which provides up to 70 hours of additional annual leave for our people with caring responsibilities.

  • One in five (19%) employees aged 45 and over in the UK expect to leave work in order to care for adult family members.
  • Women in particular (20%) are more likely to see their careers cut short by the need to care for a relative or a partner, but men are not far behind (17%).
  • But just 6% of employers view caring pressures as a significant issue faced by their employees, highlighting a disconnect between employee and employer.

Many mid-life employees2 are opting to take on their relatives’ care duties themselves as a means of minimising care bills, but this decision is coming at the expense of their career.  

Women are set to see their careers curtailed by having to leave work to care for a relative or partner to the greatest extent, with a fifth (20%) expecting to leave work for this reason, compared with 17% of men.

‘Sandwich generation’ faces caring pressures at both ends of age spectrum

It’s not just the care needs of older relatives that mid-life employees are having to contend with, as those aged 45 and over are facing care demands from both ends of the age spectrum.

10% - One in 10 mid-life employees expect they will have to leave work in order to care for children or grandchildren.

This highlights the pressures being faced by the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ as they look to support both younger and older generations.

Despite the care conundrum expected to cause one in five employees to leave their jobs, just 6% of UK employers consider care pressures a significant issue being faced by their mid-life workforce.

Lindsey Rix, Managing Director at Aviva comments:

“The practical, financial and emotional costs of caring for relatives both young and old are forcing many people in mid-life to make increasingly difficult decisions about balancing their commitments. Mid-life is the fastest growing age demographic in the UK workforce, so we can expect these pressures to grow.

“We have introduced Mid-Life MOTs to provide our people aged 45-60 with targeted guidance on the management of their wealth, work and wellbeing; and we are piloting a partnership with “Super Carers3” to help our people navigate the care landscape.

“As the UK population ages, the number of carers at work can be expected to grow. It is concerning to see that only a small percentage of employers are prioritising the issue of care. The need to care for carers must rise up our list of priorities.”

- ENDS -


1.    Research of 1,036 UK employers and 2,020 employees aged 45+, conducted on behalf of Aviva by Censuswide, January 2019. All figures are based on this research unless otherwise stated. 2,666,750 million figure scaled up according to the latest ONS Labour Market Stats – calculated as 19% of UK employee population aged 45+

2.   Employees aged 45+ are defined as ‘mid-life employees’ throughout the release

3.   Super Carers is an independent organisation that helps individuals and their families navigate the UK care system. –

Aviva’s Mid-Life MOT

Aviva’s mid-life employees, aged 45 and over, represent approximately one third of its 17,000 UK workforce. The business recognises that its future success relies on the skills and experience of this important age group. Over-45s represent the fastest growing cohort of Aviva employees, with approximately 500 people entering this age group every year. Aviva piloted a Mid-Life MOT scheme in 2018, inviting staff over the age of 45 to take time out to consider their wealth, work and wellbeing at this mid-point in their lives.

This face-to-face guidance service – complemented by online and one-to-one resources – increased participants’ confidence in their future plans; boosted their awareness of where to seek further support; and grew their appreciation of Aviva as an employer for all ages.

Following the pilot scheme’s 94% take-up rate, Aviva introduced the Mid-Life MOT open to 5,000 employees aged 45 and over in May 2019. It will work with the government and like-minded employers to consider how more mid-life employees in the UK could benefit from a similar intervention.

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