“The International Longevity Centre-UK welcomes this announcement. In the context of an ageing society, working longer is good news for the economy and older people.

However, the decision to end the Default Retirement Age will not automatically lead to longer working lives for all. Last month the ILC-UK published a report (1) which set out why people retire early. A combination of poor health, caring responsibilities and a lack of appropriate skills are amongst the reasons for leaving the workforce early.

So if Government is to make the most of the economic potential of older workers, it must do more to explore why people retire when they do. It must also consider how it can best incentivise and support us to work longer in sustainable ways. The introduction of policies to encourage flexible working and ‘gradual retirement’ have to form part of this picture”

(1)The Future of Retirement
ILC published “The future of retirement” last month.
The report found 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 that 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.

ILC-UK recommends that, if working lives are to be extended, and 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;
  • Flexible working
  • Simplifying the pensions system and improving the provision of advice; and
  • The support offered to older people with caring responsibilities.

The report is available here.


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