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Older workers choosing later retirement

Almost half of over-50s plan to continue working between age 65 and 70, a survey commissioned by the government has found.

The YouGov survey of more than 2,000 people over 50 highlights a growing trend away from traditional views of retirement towards more flexible approaches.

48% of over-50s want to stay in employment until they're aged between 65 and 70.

Almost 4 in 10 (39%) would prefer to work flexible hours or part-time before retiring, while 17% want to stop work completely.

Retirement expert Dr Ros Altmann said:

"It is clear that many older people no longer see retirement as turning their back on work. They want to work longer, but shift the pace while still making the most of their skills."

Separate research commissioned by peer-to-peer lender Zopa found that 47% of over-65s are choosing to work beyond the traditional retirement age.

The main reasons given for people extending their working lives were:

  • keeping an active mind (27%)
  • financial reasons (17%)
  • keeping busy (16%).

Giles Andrews, chief executive of Zopa, said:

"Retirement in Britain is no longer an event that involves clearing your desk at 65. Having a more fluid retirement process is a result of many of us being fitter and healthier later into our lives, not wanting to simply down tools at age 65 or being unable to afford to stop working completely."

Challenges for older workers

The YouGov research also identified a number of potential challenges for older workers. More than a fifth (23%) believe that younger workers are viewed more favourably, while 15% of unretired people say they have experienced age-based discrimination.

Of those who have been unemployed since turning 50 but are currently in work:

  • 41% say their age lowered their confidence when applying for jobs
  • 53% think that employers aren't interested in employing them because of their age
  • 23% say out-of-date skills make it difficult to apply for jobs.

However, Dr Altmann said that employers are beginning to recognise the benefits of employing older workers:

"What's great is that more employers are now getting the message that older workers can have a valuable role in business, particularly as they increasingly represent their future customers and workforce."

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