Britons must keep working to make ends meet

2004

The number of Britons who intend to keep working beyond the normal retirement age is set to soar over the next few years, according to new research.

As the value of the UK state pension continues to plunge and final-salary occupational pension schemes disappear, the research by Reed Consulting and Age Concern London highlights the growing proportion of people who will need to continue working past 65 to make ends meet.

In a survey of 3,000 people over the age of 50, half said they intended to stay in work rather than retire. Currently, only nine per cent of people over the age of retirement are in a job.

Only one in ten hoped to stop work before they reached 60, while a third intend to retire before 65.

But one in four said that they wanted to stay on at work until the age of 70 and a further quarter said they intended to continue working for as long as possible.

But the survey also revealed a now-familiar story of age discrimination. Four out of five over 50-year-olds believed that they had been rejected for jobs solely on the grounds of age. One in three also believed that prejudice about age starts at under 45.

Reed Consulting’s James Reed said: "Older people are much keener to work on beyond retirement age than in the past. Nine out of 10 are committed to further training to ensure their skills meet employers needs.

"The major barrier to fully using these skills appears to be out-moded perceptions of what older workers can contribute.

"Yet employers simply cannot afford to maintain such perceptions into the future, as skills shortages accelerate and demographic shifts drastically cut down the number of younger workers available.

"If the commitment of older workers is fully embraced by employers, it will also transform UK economic prospects."