Future of Age,Work and Retirement

11 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QB, 16:00, 09 December 2010

The seminar allowed for debate on how the meaning of retirement has evolved, and how public policy should respond.

In our report The Future of Retirement, published earlier this year, Dr Craig Berry argued that government plans to raise the State Pension Age would not inevitably lead to an increase in average retirement age.

The Future of Retirement argued that:

  • The meaning of retirement was originally bound up with the receipt of a pension, but most people do not retire at State Pension Age;
  • Good pensions coverage generally increases the likelihood of early retirement, and vice versa. Other things being equal, low-paid/low-skilled workers retire later due to financial compulsion;
  • Over the long-term, defined contribution pension schemes are likely to encourage later retirements, in part due to their inherent incentive structure, but also because they tend to be less generous than defined benefit schemes; and
  • Many older workers seem to favour a gradual transition from work to retirement. Such arrangements could help people to cope with care responsibilities.

Following the publication of the paper, ILC-UK recommended that, if working lives are to be extended, the government needs to give more attention to:

  • Preventative healthcare throughout the life-course;
  • Job quality for older workers;
  • The potential of ‘gradual retirement’, including encouraging employers to offer downshifting options to staff approaching retirement at all levels;
  • Simplifying the pensions system and improving the provision of advice; and
  • The support offered to older people with caring responsibilities.

The report was published ahead of an ILC-UK think piece by Professor John Macnicol, ‘Ageism and Age Discrimination’, which explored the role that ageism plays in determining individuals’ ability to extend their working lives.

This seminar allowed for a debate on the findings from both pieces of work. Craig Berry, a Senior Researcher at ILC-UK at the time, and former policy advisor on pensions at HM Treasury, will present the findings of The Future of Retirement and discuss the current policy context. Professor John Macnicol, a Visiting Professor at LSE and author of ‘The Politics of Retirement in Britain’ and ‘Age Discrimination: An Historical and Contemporary Analysis’ will discuss retirement in historical perspective.