Growing numbers of people remain in employment past retirement age

Both men and women are increasingly staying at work beyond the state pension age, UK government figures show. Data published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveals that the average retirement age for men has now risen to 65.1 and for women 63.6. Over a twenty year period, this marks an increase of around two years for men and nearly three years for women. In both cases the average retirement age is now higher than the state retirement age. Some 10 percent of over-65s are currently in employment, according to the DWP data. However, the data also suggests that men are still retiring at an earlier age than they were in the 1950s, which is the starting point for the study.

In 1950, men left the labour market at an average age of 67 while women typically left at around the age of 63 both in 1950 and now.

The DWP labour market figures published showed the employment gap between those aged 50-64 and 35-49 was down to 13.3 percent in 2017. Currently almost three-quarters (71 percent) of people aged 50-64 are in full-time employment, up from three-fifths in 1997. Employment rates, including part-time, for the older age groups of 65-69 and 70-74 year-olds doubled in the two decades, from 10.5 percent to 20.8 percent and 4.5 percent to 11 percent respectively.

The state pension age is set to rise to age 67 for both men and women between 2026 and 2028. In July, DWP secretary of state David Gauke hinted at plans to increase the state pension age in line with John Cridland’s proposal to bring it forward to 68 over a two-year period – starting in 2037.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has also published a report which calls on the government to recognise the growing number of older people in work which will allow them to withdraw 10 percent more of their pension savings tax-free, in addition to the 25 percent granted under pension freedoms, to help fund start-up businesses in later working life.

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