May 11, 2017
For all the talk about the growing number of Millennials at work, most of the interesting stuff about workplace demographics appears to be happening at the other end of the age scale. A record number of employees now expect to work past the official retirement age and many expect to work up to the age of 85, according to a new study by Canada Life. It claims that 73 percent of UK employees will work past the age of 65, up from 67 percent in 2016 and 61 percent in 2015. More than a third (37 percent) of these could be older than 70 before they retire and 10 percent expect to be at least the age of 85 when they retire, if they can retire at all. Younger workers are particularly likely to expect to work past the age of 65, rising to more than four in five (84 percent) of 25-34 year olds. Many expect to be unable to afford to retire but a growing number will continue to work because they want to.
The study claims that eight years of rock bottom interest rates has taken its toll on UK employees’ savings. Almost a third (31 percent) of UK workers, or 10 million people, say they will work past the age of 65 because of low interest on savings. This is up from 23 percent in 2016, with an additional 3 million people delaying their retirement plans in the past year. Poor pension planning is another reason UK employees expect to have to work past the age of 65. More than a third (36 percent) say their pension will not be sufficient so they will need to continue earning a wage.
However, not all reasons for delaying retirement are negative: 34 percent say they enjoy their job and would like to work for as long as possible. Millennials aged 18-24 are most likely to agree with this (44 percent), with job satisfaction dipping to 25 percent among 45-54s but picking back up to 39 percent of 55-64s.
Tellingly, UK employees believe that established workers aged 41 – 60 are one of the types of employees most likely to suffer from workplace stress (23 percent), suggesting workers of this age could be less inclined to want to work for longer because they find their jobs too stressful.
Health concerns are the biggest challenge for older workers
When asked about the biggest challenges facing those working beyond the age of 65, UK workers believe health (57 percent) and energy levels (48 percent) to be the biggest issues. Older workers closest to the traditional retirement age are notably more likely to believe health concerns will impact their ability to work beyond 65 (64 percent of 55-64s compared to 53 percent of 25-34s), potentially because they have already suffered bouts of ill-health.
Other challenges include keeping up with new technology (21 percent), coping with the daily commute (19 percent) and still being engaged in their job or company (18 percent).
Older workers are statistically more likely to develop certain health conditions, such as cancer, a stroke and diabetes. As a result, employee benefits designed to support workers through periods of ill-health and workplace based support will become even more important as the UK workforce ages.