For the first time in recent years, the number of people planning to work beyond retirement has declined, with experts suggesting this could be one of the consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Research from Canada Life shows that the number of people expecting to work beyond their state pension age fell from 71 per cent last year to 51 per cent in 2020.
This is the first fall in these figures since Canada Life began collating this data in 2015.
With health issues brought on by the virus and an increase in unemployment and redundancy, Covid-19 seems to be accelerating retirement plans and encouraging more people to stop working when they hit 66.
Canada Life strategic propositions director, group insurance Paul Avis, says: “For some older workers, the events of 2020 have helped them realise they want to spend more time at home, with their families and learning new skills and hobbies.
“Whereas for others, poor health and vulnerability may – sadly – have accelerated their retirement plans. While unemployment continues to rise, job losses may be another contributing factor to this drop in the number of people planning on working beyond retirement age, especially for those receiving or expecting redundancy payments.”
For the 19.8m who do plan on working into their late 60s, 16 per cent don’t expect to retire until after they’ve turned 75.
There are various motivations for working beyond state pension age, including both social and financial; 42 per cent say their pension pot is not big enough to fund life after work yet so they need to continue earning, while a fifth (22 per cent) will carry on working because they enjoy the routine. A fifth (21 per cent) say they feel unprepared for retirement and, encouragingly, 20 per cent simply enjoy their day-to-day job.
Of the millions of older workers who will be working beyond their 66th birthday, 37 per cent are worried that their health will inhibit their ability to work, and a quarter (24 per cent) are concerned that they will be treated differently because their boss or colleagues perceive them as ‘old’.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) also worry that continuing to work will make their health deteriorate, and 31 per cent are concerned that working later will mean they can’t enjoy their old age. To alleviate these concerns and support employees working into older ages, 32 per cent want their employer to offer income protection, and another 32 per cent want critical illness cover available through the workplace.
Avis adds: “Older workers sit at the heart of our economy and they are an invaluable resource for thousands of employers with the kind of experience and expertise that only comes with time.
“Employers have a significant opportunity to support employees’ health and wellbeing and so, for employers that are seeking to increase workforce productivity and engagement, group risk and other health related benefits will increase in importance.
“For organisations that are concerned about staff attraction and retention they should consider protection products and benefits that have a wide range of support services – as well as financial benefits that provide peace of mind – including employee assistance programmes, counselling and burnout support and virtual GP services.”
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