MORE Scots are working past retirement age and they are often carrying out long hours and commuting lengthy distances, according to a new report.

The research, carried out by Stirling University, highlighted 7,806 men and 1,455 women aged 65 to 74 worked more than 49 hours per week.

Analysis of 2011 census data for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Scotland found 7.2% of people over the age of 65 were in work, compared to 6.8% a decade earlier.

More than a third (37 per cent) of men and a quarter (26 per cent) of women travelled more than 6.2 miles to work.

The most common form of employment was in skilled trades such as electrical engineering, construction or farming, followed by jobs such as cleaning and security and professional occupations.

The research also found that almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of people aged 65 and over lived alone and around 11 per cent carried out unpaid care, with half of those contributing more than 50 hours per week.

In addition, there were marked health inequalities for older people in Scotland, with 17 per cent of those who worked in routine roles having poor health compared to 4% who were in higher professional or managerial roles.

Alastair Pringle, EHRC Scotland director, claimed the report shows just how valuable older people are to the Scottish economy.

He said: "For many, working past retirement is an active choice with people wanting to continue to contribute to their communities.

"However given the concentration of older people working in low paid occupations like cleaning and security and the associated long hours, it is likely that for some working past retirement is a means to alleviate poverty and increase income.

"Equal opportunities are vital at every stage in life. No-one should be denied their right to play a full and functioning role in society because of their age.

"The commission hopes that this report can provide a valuable snapshot of some of the challenges facing older Scots, but also some of the opportunities. Older people in Scotland have a huge amount to offer."

A previous report by charity Age UK estimated the typical person over 65 in Scotland contributes £1,438 an hour to the economy through employment, with over-65s in London and the south east more valuable to their local economy.

However, the charity said it was concerned that older people who want to keep working still find themselves locked out of the labour market as a result of age discrimination.

More than 113,000 men and 65,000 women aged 50 and over had been out of work for more than a year by summer 2014 and were finding it tough to get back into work, the charity said. Many others can only find part-time work when they would prefer to work full-time hours.

While most age groups are expected to remain stable, the number of pensioners is due to hit 1.4 million by 2027, compared to the current figure of less than a million.