13 January 2015
Latest Survey for Older Workers Champion shows a retirement revolution is well underway
Nearly 5 million people intend to keep working beyond age 65 as later retirement becomes the norm
Only 17% favour traditional retirement pattern as majority want to ease into retirement via part-time work first
Employers need to increase emphasis on later life training and flexible working
Millions of older people do not know that over 65s don’t pay national insurance
Retirement is changing as nearly 5million people plan to work beyond age 65: A nationwide Survey of over 50s has revealed some startling findings about attitudes to work and retirement. It is clear that a major re-evaluation of retirement is underway. When asked what their ideal working pattern would be between ages 60 and 65, only 15% of non-retired over 50s said they would want to stop working altogether. When asked their ideal working pattern from ages 65 to 70, around half would like to still be working, although preferably on a part-time, rather than full-time, basis. If the results are applied to the whole UK population, this suggests 4.8million people want to keep working and not be retired between ages 65 and 70. Currently, there are around 1.2 million over 65s still in work. Therefore, there is potential for a significant rise in later life work.
Traditional idea of retirement outdated as people want to work part-time before stopping altogether: Around half of people have increased their planned retirement age in recent years, as later life working is becoming an ever more important issue. Traditional ideas of a fixed, one-off, retirement date no longer seem to apply. Nearly two-thirds of over 50s do not believe that working full time and then stopping altogether is the best way to retire. More than a third (36%) of those already retired would advise people to work part-time before retiring altogether.
Employer attitudes need to change, more later life training and flexible work: To facilitate increased later life working for more of those who want it, employer attitudes and approaches to recruitment need to change, as well as more emphasis on later life training. In this regard, it is encouraging that almost half (47%) of all over 50s still economically active would be interested in taking a training course to improve their skills. If employers can help people combine training for new roles, or improving their skills, with flexible working as they get older, the Survey suggests there would be a major increase in wellbeing for our aging population, as well as better economic growth.
Nearly half of over-50s unaware that they won’t pay NI contributions if working past 65: One fascinating finding is that nearly half of over 50s were unaware that they can work beyond age 65 without having to pay National Insurance. This suggests scope for further education and information to help people understand the significant potential benefits of working longer if they wish to.
Support for idea of ‘gap-breaks’ in later life, then return to work refreshed: One in four over 50s said they would be interested in taking a few months off and then returning to work, as an alternative to retirement. Many people could benefit from a break, after years of full-time work, but after that break want to return to work again.
2.3million retirees miss work, wish they’d worked longer and miss the social interaction: More than one in five retirees say they wish they had worked longer (equivalent to 2.3million people nationwide). 38% say they miss the social interaction of work, indeed far more than the 27% who say they miss the income. Around one in five (18%) say they miss the feeling they are doing something useful. Over a quarter (27%) of those now retired wish they had worked longer, including those who had to retire due to illness or disability.
One in ten felt they had to retire but didn’t want to: Importantly, 11% of retirees say they did not really want to retire but felt they had to, or were expected to. If people feel they have to retire even if they don’t want to, we are wasting resources for the economy as a whole and individuals affected will be poorer than they need to be for the rest of their life. Conversely, enabling people who want to keep working in later life to do so, can mean higher lifetime income for millions of people, more output in the economy and higher spending power in the longer term, which will mean higher economic growth and better living standards for all of us.
Potential skills shortages if employers fail to act: There is an opportunity to refine retirement so that it can fit better with people’s lives. Employers will potentially face skills shortages in coming years, but allowing more flexibility for older workers, improving later life training and facilitating caring responsibilities if possible can all improve quality of life for older people while simultaneously benefitting business and the economy.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Results based on YouGov national Survey of over 2000 retired and non-retired over 50s conducted in December 2014.