Working past 65

March 13, 2014 10:33 am Published by

Only a third of those working past 65 are doing so for the income, with a similar number doing so because they enjoy work, according to recent research.

Have you noticed how staff in shops often seem to be quite old?  Not just in B&Q and Marks & Spencer, but here, there and everywhere.  That is a reflection of what is happening in the workplace generally, with February’s official employment figures showing that the number of people over 65 staying at work rose by 26,000 in just one month. There were 1,092,000 UK workers over 65 between October and December 2013, so no wonder we have started to notice them.

The key question is: why are people choosing to stay at work? What happened to the longing for golf or day-time TV, or an aged gap year adventure? Of course a practical reason is that people now do have the choice to stay, rather than falling automatically off the cliff of retirement; they have done so since the law changed in 2006 and age discrimination law stopped people having to retire at a set age. For the next generation and certainly the one after that, the reason for staying at work will be for the money, as pension values fall away.  But why so many in the present era of generally higher pensions?

Research just out shows that only a third staying at work after traditional retirement ages are doing so for the money. While 36% are at work mainly for the money, 32% do it for personal fulfilment and 25% in order to stay active and engaged. (The research did not ask how many wanted to avoid spending too much time with their other half!)

And we can expect more of the same as this trend for staying at work grows: of over 50’s polled only 25% plan to fully retire straight away, 49% want to continue working past 65 and 40% expect to stagger their retirement with part-time work. And with the changes this summer allowing everyone to ask to work flexibly, the trend for part time working below retirement age and continuing afterwards is set to grow and grow. So the old cliff edge of retirement – from full time to nothing at all – will no longer be the pattern, as the individual pathway from work to old age becomes more of a gentle slope. Arguably this will benefit employers as it will reduce the immediate loss of accumulated expertise and allow the stable and committed influence of older workers to continue. What will be the implications for younger workers who need the jobs? That’s another subject, but time will tell.

For more information contact Frances Barker, Employment Partner Blockslegal LLP, on

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This post was written by Frances