Workers extend their careers for a multitude of reasons

When do you plan to retire? Saving for your retirement is a lifelong undertaking – and if you want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, you can’t start planning soon enough. The more you contribute to a pension now, the better chance you’ll have of that money growing and funding your retirement in later life.

But the proportion of UK employees who say they will work beyond the age of 65 has remained at three quarters (72%) for the second year running, significantly higher than in 2016 (67%) and 2015 (61%), according to latest research[1].

Nearly half (47%) of those who say they expect to work beyond 65 will be older than 70 before they retire, up from 37% in 2017, while almost a fifth (17%) expect to be older than 75. Workers aged 35–44 are most likely to say they expect to retire after their 75th birthday (27%).
Employees working for longer
A series of economic factors are driving employees to work for longer. The rising cost of living is forcing over 20 million into later retirement[2]. In fact, nine in ten (90%) UK employees say that the rising cost of living is the main reason why they expect to work beyond 65, with 87% saying the same of poor returns on savings due to low interest rates.

Diverse set of workforce skills
Opinions remain divided about the UK’s ageing workforce as it brings a new set of challenges for workers to contend with. Over a third (36%) believe that an ageing workforce might mean that older workers will have to re-train or learn new skills to stay in work, while three in ten (30%) think it could make it harder for young people to move up the career ladder. But more than two fifths (41%) are positive that a mix of older and younger employees creates a workforce with a wider range of skills, which is beneficial for employees and employers alike.
Promoting older workplace employees
This comes as just 6% think the Government is helping to promote older workers, down from one in ten (11%) following last year’s announcement of an increase in the State Pension age[3]. So far, only 13% think that employers are encouraging older employees to stay in the workplace, and little more than a sixth (15%) believe that older people are appreciated and respected in the working environment. 

Support for older workers in the workplace can come in many different forms, but often the simplest are the most effective. Nearly half of employees (45%) think flexible working or part-time opportunities are most important when it comes to supporting an ageing workforce. Out of those planning to work beyond State Pension age, 60% say that they would be more likely to work for an employer that offered health and well-being benefits. 
Stigma surrounding older workers
The combination of an increase in the cost of living, poor returns on savings and inflation continues to impact the UK’s retirement plans. This is the second year in a row that the findings indicate that more than 70% of the country’s workforce expect to work beyond the age of 65, and there is no sign that this trend will slow down any time soon.
But even as an older workforce becomes more common, the stigma surrounding older workers is proving hard to shake. Employers now have the opportunity to capitalise on the skills of two or even three generations, but only if they address potential generational divides and the changing needs of their employees.

Source data:
[1] Research conducted by Canada Life using ONS Employment Figures, May 2018.
[2] Research conducted by Canada Life using ONS Employment Figures, May 2018.
[3] Proposed new timetable for State Pension age increases, 19 July 2017.

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