Half of older employees plan to work past 65, says CIPD survey

28 Feb 2017 By Marianne Calnan

Organisations ‘shockingly’ underprepared to support an ageing workforce, but abolition of retirement age is welcomed

Around half of older employees expect to work past the traditional retirement age of 65, according to a new CIPD survey that suggests many employers have yet to engage with the changing demographics of the workplace.

Among all staff, 37 per cent anticipated working beyond 65, but this figure rose to 49 per cent among those currently aged 55 and over, according to the Employee Outlook: Focus on employee attitudes to pay and pensions: Winter 2016-17.

The survey of around 1,600 employees also found that, among respondents who predicted they would work past 65, the average anticipated retirement age was 70.

Among the most common reasons for expecting to work beyond 65 were continuing to remain mentally fit (32 per cent) and ensuring a sufficient income to continue doing things you enjoy (27 per cent).

Overall, 86 per cent of employees felt the abolition of the default retirement age, which has enabled employees to work beyond 65 except in certain strictly defined circumstances, was a good thing. But only a quarter said their employer was prepared to meet the needs of workers aged 65 and over.

Charles Cotton, pay and reward adviser at the CIPD, urged employers to recognise both the talents and requirements of older workers. “It’s shocking that despite a large proportion of workers planning to work past the age of 65, employers are so underprepared to meet the needs of a maturing workforce. Organisations have a duty to build workplaces that enable talented older workers to continue to work without facing organisational barriers,” he said.

“Older workers offer vast experience and knowledge, and can also act as mentors to young people in the workplace. To reap those opportunities, employers need to start adapting their people practices, as well as the design of the organisation, jobs and work, to ensure they are fit for purpose.”

The CIPD research highlights a lack of awareness among some employees regarding the shifting state pension age. Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of over-55s said they did not know that the pension age would increase from 65 to 66 between 2018 and 2020. And 48 per cent of 35-54-year-olds were unaware it would increase from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Just over a third (36 per cent) of employees did not know that they need to have made national insurance contributions for 10 years to receive the minimum state pension.

Cotton warned that if employees fail to engage with state pension requirements in time, they may be forced to remain at work out of necessity rather than choice. He said: “It’s clear that many people aren’t fully aware what kind of pension they might receive or when, especially if the state pension is going to form a significant part of their retirement income.”

More broadly, the survey found that 55 per cent of employees believe they will receive a pay rise in the next 12 months, down from 66 per cent at the same time last year. Around a third (31 per cent) did not expect any salary growth in 2017.

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