Watch out. The unretired are coming . . .

2002

More than one in five retired Britons come out of retirement to go back to work, according to a survey – but they are not doing so for the money. Two-thirds of retired over-50s also believe that mandatory retirement should be scrapped.

A survey of 777 retired people over 50 by insurer Norwich Union suggests 22 per cent are either bored or want to keep active and return to some kind of employment, be it full, part-time or voluntary. The survey dubs this new tier of employee the ‘unretired’.

The numbers taking up some form of employment also rises as Britons get older, with as many as 34 per cent of people aged between 65 and 74 coming out of retirement.

Nearly two thirds of those questioned in the survey said they were against a compulsory retirement age; just 30 per cent were in favour of it.

But it is not money that is tempting most pensioners back to the workforce so much as social interaction and a desire to keep active. Only four per cent of people return to work because they need the money. Around 12 per cent said they wanted to keep active, 11 per cent missed daily interaction, 10 per cent said they were bored and 11 per cent chose voluntary work to give something back to society.

Ian Beggs, research director of Norwich Union, said that while some people find retirement a positive experience, "for others, the impact of giving up work for good is a real blow".

“Of those people who have chosen to go back to some form or work, most have done so out of choice rather than necessity," said Mr Beggs.

"The feelings generated from retirement range from freedom, release and 'the great escape', to a sense of loss, no longer feeling like a contributor, and in some cases loss of self-esteem.”

Despite frequent reports of ageism in the ‘formal’ workplace, nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed said that they had no trouble finding work. Almost one in five (18 per cent) said that they used former employers while 13 per cent said they used a job centre or local media to find employment. Significantly, however, 34 per cent find their ideal post-retirement jobs most frequently through word of mouth through friends or relatives:

"It will be interesting to see whether people retiring 30 years from now will find themselves in the same position," said Mr Beggs.