Most UK workers now expect to retire at 62 years old

A new poll of people aged between 35 and 55 suggests that most workers expect to retire at around 62 years old, four years earlier than the UK state pension age of 66.  The report called Providing for tomorrow today: understanding an ageing workforce was commissioned by law firm Osborne Clarke.  It surveyed employees aged 35-55 working in seven industry sectors across the UK. The report claims to identify workers’ current and future employment and retirement expectations and the impact these may have, not only on the shape of the future UK workforce, but also on employers in the industry sectors surveyed.

Among workers surveyed, there is a mix of feelings towards the prospect of retiring, with 31 percent saying they are looking forward to their retirement as they will have lots of free time. However, 19 percent don’t know what they are going to do with their time during retirement and thinking about retirement makes (22 percent) of workers surveyed feel anxious. Workers surveyed in the Financial Services sector expect to retire at the latest age (63 years old on average) based on their current financial circumstances. Those from the Energy and Utilities sector are expecting to retire at the youngest age (on average 59 years old).

There is a feeling among workers surveyed that they feel supported by their company, with 83 percent saying their company is supporting them in planning for their retirement. Across all industry sectors, workers surveyed from the Financial Services sector are most likely to say they would be encouraged to work for longer if their employer allowed them to work flexible hours (62 percent) and provided them with more annual leave (49 percent), whereas those from the Mobility and Infrastructure sector* were least likely to say the same (32 percent, 34 percent).

Progression opportunities are most likely to be important to workers surveyed, with just under a quarter saying opportunities for career progression in their current role (24 percent) and opportunities for career progression, or change of direction, in a different role (24 percent) is important to them at work. This is closely followed by ability to work on a hybrid basis (23 percent), opportunities to upskill/personal advancement (23 percent) and working environment and facilities (23 percent).

Exploring how these factors differ in importance between ages and gender, diversity and inclusion is more likely to be important to younger workers surveyed (aged 35-44 23 percent, aged 45-55 16 percent) and female workers are more likely than male workers to say working environment and facilities are important to them (28 percent vs 20 percent).

The opportunity to work remotely abroad also seems to be important to workers surveyed, as 79 percent said they would like to work remotely, in their current role, from an overseas location at any time up to their intended retirement age.

In terms of company benefits in the next 1-10 years, the most important were flexible working hours (26 percent), dental insurance (23 percent), fertility treatment (22 percent), counselling (21 percent) and financial support and/or time off for medical issues (21 percent).

When looking specifically at which company benefits would/are going to help workers surveyed end their careers most happily, different benefits are noted. Pensions (25 percent) are most important for ensuring their career ends happily, followed by life insurance (21 percent), private medical insurance (19 percent) and salary sacrifice schemes (19 percent).

The data also explored which company benefits workers surveyed would want and value the most for their company to introduce that they don’t already provide. Around 1 in 6 said they would want and value their company introducing inflation salary increases (17 percent), critical illness insurance (17 percent), financial support and/or time off (16 percent) and travel benefits (16 percent).