New Research Shows Attitudes to Retirement are Changing

New government research shows that nearly half of over 50s want to keep working between age 65 and 70 and that the way we view retirement is changing, as well as the challenges that older workers can face.

According to the research report Attitudes of the Over 50s to Fuller Working Lives, only 17 per cent say that working full time and then stopping work altogether would be the best way for them to retire.

The independent YouGov survey of over 2,000 retired and non-retired people aged over 50,  was undertaken as part of Dr Ros Altmann’s work as Business Champion for Older Workers, also shows the challenges that older workers can face.

Key findings include:

  • 39 per cent of over 50s not currently retired said that working part time or flexible hours before stopping work altogether would be the best way to retire.
  • nearly half (48 per cent) of those under 65 and not currently retired would like to be in work still between the ages of 65 and 70.
    • 36 per cent of retirees say their advice to others would be to ‘consider switching to flexible or part time work for a period first’ before stopping work altogether.
    • 33 per cent of those working aged over 70 said they did so because they enjoyed it.

While the research shows changing attitudes to working later in life, it also shows the challenges that older workers can face:

  • 23 per cent of over 50 workers feel they are viewed ‘less favourably than younger workers’, while 51 per cent said they that they thought that their employer views older workers ‘as favourably as younger workers’
  • 15 per cent of those not currently retired report experiencing age-based discrimination in the workplace.

Amongst those who have been unemployed at some point since turning 50 but are currently working - 53 per cent agreed that they felt employers were not interested in hiring them because of their age

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

“The results show there is no single view of retirement any more, but the message from older workers is clear; employers need to keep up with changes to society and we have to ensure over 50s have the skills in place to continue developing their careers throughout their working lives.”

Dr Ros Altmann Business Champion for Older Workers said:

“It is clear that many older people no longer see retirement as turning their back on work. They want to work longer, but shift the pace while still making the most of their skills. What’s great is that more employers are now getting the message that older workers can have a valuable role in business, particularly as they increasingly represent their future customers and workforce.”

TAEN Chief Executive Chris Ball said:

“Extended or fuller working lives are a logical necessity, most people agree, the question is how to make longer working lives possible when 2.9 million people aged 50 to state pension age are out of work, and while only 0.7 million of these consider themselves to be “retired”, 1.7 million think it is unlikely they will work again.”

“To support the older jobseeker, TAEN will launch a new Guide for Older Job Seekers in March 2015.  The Guide is based on the work we have done with older job seekers and advisers over the past seven years and represents some of the best and most sage advice, with practical tips and much more that will support the older person seeking to get back to work.”

From April, the government is rolling out a project that will see ‘older workers’ champions introduced into Jobcentres across every part of Britain to help tackle the age discrimination that can lead to much higher levels of long-term unemployment among over 50s than their younger counterparts.

Intensive work support will be offered through the scheme with a ‘career review’, digital support for older jobseekers to get online and link-ups with local small and medium sized businesses with vacancies to fill.

A new guidance toolkit for employers will also be launched to help them support older staff in the workplace, such as by making changes to working patterns or finding alternative roles for those with age-related health difficulties.