November 27, 2009 - Administrator

Number of staff planning to work beyond retirement doubles

The number of workers planning to work beyond the state pension age has almost doubled in the past two years, research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed.

The CIPD's Employee Outlook survey of 2,000 working people found that 71 per cent of workers aged 55 and above said they have had to postpone their retirement plans — up from 40 per cent two years ago.

According to the research, the increase was largely due to financial factors, with nearly three quarters of over 55's admitting that money worries had forced them to keep working. The survey found that pension pots, savings, investments and house values had all been badly affected by the recession.

CIPD reward adviser, Charles Cotton, said that employers increasingly needed to think about adapting their workplace to cope with an ageing workforce. "With more people planning to work past 65, employers will have to accommodate older workers and motivate those who wish they could be elsewhere," he said.

"Flexible working and leave arrangements and the opportunity to use their skills and life experience are typically high priorities for older workers," added Cotton.

"Business owners also need to think about physical working environments, such as ensuring good access and efficient lighting, and adapting health and wellbeing checks for older staff."

However, Age Concern's head of public policy, Andrew Harrop, said that the "ageist attitudes" of many employers meant job opportunities for the elderly were still limited.

"Many pre-retirees have seen their pensions drop in value and income from savings almost disappear, so it's no surprise growing numbers of older people are considering working longer or returning to the workplace," he said.

"But unfortunately the economic downturn, the ageist attitudes of many employers and the default retirement age, which allows employers to force people to retire at 65, mean that it can be incredibly difficult for people over 65 to continue working or return to work," added Harrop. "Employers needed to start seeing beyond job applicants' age and look at the skills‚ experience and commitment older workers have to offer."