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Alcohol, Employment and over-50s in Northern Ireland

By March 2, 2017No Comments2 min read

Will Chambré, Managing Director 


Northern Ireland boasts, among other things, a rapidly ageing population.

People are living longer and having fewer children.

In the decade 2004-2014, the 65+ age group grew over three times faster than the population as a whole.

By mid-2039, this group is expected to account for nearly one-quarter of all the people in Northern Ireland.

These facts are often examined according to their impact on the local health service, but we must understand just how important our older people are in economic terms as well.

Not only are people in Northern Ireland living longer, they are working longer, too.

Employment rates for people aged 50-65+ have increased, for the most part, year on year since 2008.

Between 2006 and 2013, unemployment among those aged 16-24 grew by over 12%, while employment among 50-64-year old’s increased by over 6%.

So, the ‘older’ workforce has a significant role to play in our economic prosperity.

Unfortunately, this role can be undermined by past or current drinking behaviour.

In the professional occupational class, for example, nearly 30% of over-50s across the U.K. drink 5-7 days a week.

A 2013/14 study suggests that, in this job class, nearly 25% of those aged 60-69 drink heavily – compared to just 6% for under-30s.

The economic impact of these trends are significant, with consequences for recruitment, productivity, sickness absence and staff turnover.

For the sake of staff wellbeing, and their bottom line, employers need to think about how they can better support their older workforce to manage alcohol.

On 30 March 2017, Addiction NI will host a lunchtime panel discussion in the Millennium Forum, Derry~Londonderry, to consider the relationship between alcohol and employment among Northern Ireland’s over-50 population.

The discussion will focus on new research from the Drink Wise, Age Well programme, which examines the impact of alcohol on those seeking employment, in employment, or preparing for retirement. Drink Wise, Age Well, which is run by Addiction NI in Northern Ireland, aims to help people make healthier choices about their drinking as they age.

The event will include contributions from Addiction NI, Bank of Ireland, Business in the Community, People Plus and someone with lived experience.

To register or for more information, please click here.