Almost half of UK employees expect to work beyond the age of 65, but it is fear of declining health, rather than a lack of funds that is keeping them in the workplace.
This global survey by Aegon found that while 48 per cent of UK workers are planning to work beyond the age of 65, just 22 per cent of workers in France expected to do so.
However Britain is unlikely to have the oldest workforce in future, with 70 per cent of workers in the Netherlands expect to be working at this stage of life.
The survey also looked at the reason why people chose to continue working. Surprisingly most people aren’t staying in the workforce for purely financial reasons.
Over half of those in the UK (55 per cent) who wanted to prolong their career said keeping active, and keeping their brain alert was the most important benefit of continuing to work; a further 37 per cent said they wanted to continue working because they enjoyed their job.
The focus on maintaining good health and staying active through work, tallies with people’s concerns about later life. Declining physical health was cited as the largest retirement concern (48 per cent), followed by fears of Alzheimer’s or dementia (41 per cent). Both elements of failing health were seen as more of a concern than running out of money (40 per cent).
On average workers in the UK expect to live to age 80 and to age 75 in good health suggesting an expectation of spending five years in poor health.
Only 28 per cent of workers in the UK want a ‘cliff edge’ retirement, where they stop working in one go, the lowest across Europe and one of the lowest among the 15 countries surveyed.
Workers in Spain, for example, are far more favourable to stopping work altogether and entering retirement, with 52 per cent favouring this option.
Aegon’s head of pensions Kate Smith says: “People are increasingly redefining their working years and time spent in retirement, choosing to blend work commitments with more free time as they transition into retirement. There’s also a growing recognition that in addition to supporting our wealth, work can protect our health too.
“An increasing State Pension Age will explain why some see themselves having a longer working life, but the research shows an interesting association between health and remaining in paid employment.
“Today’s generation of workers recognise that one of the best way to protect their health is to remain active and that work can be part of an active life.”