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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Almost half of employees would work longer before retirement if given flexible hours

New research suggests that 47% of workers would work longer before retirement if their employer were to offer more flexible hours, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Flexibility appeals to many ©Shutterstock
Flexibility appeals to many ©Shutterstock

After responding to the latest British Social Attitudes Survey, it was also found that 46% of people would want to work part time and 30% would like to take on a less demanding role as they near retirement, allowing them to keep their skills up to date, earn an income, and free up time to do other things such as caring for grandchildren.

Although many would like more flexible hours, the latest figures show that the employment rate for older workers is at a near-record 70.8%, with 30% of British workers predicted to be aged 50 and over by 2020.

Employment minister, Damian Hinds, said: “There are more older people in work than ever before, but we know that many leave the workforce earlier than they’d like.

“Having greater flexibility over when and for how long they work is clearly something that appeals to many people.

“Encouragingly, we’re seeing more employers taking on older workers as they recognise the benefits of having them on the payroll.

“But we want to go further to help more older people stay in employment, which is why in the new year we will publish a strategy led by employers on how we plan to do it.”

The latest research shows that nearly two-thirds of employees expect to retire in their 60s, with 30% of 18 to 24-year-olds believing they will do so in their 70s.

This comes after encouragement earlier this month from the UK’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davis, for individuals to remain in work beyond traditional retirement ages.

Her Baby Boomers: Fit for the Future report shows that doing so could help older people remain socially, physically and mentally active, all which can be beneficial for health, with more than 75% of people aged between 50 and pension age currently in active employment.

She said: “People are living longer than ever and so retirement presents a real opportunity for baby boomers to be more active than ever before.

“For many people it is a chance to take on new challenges, it is certainly not the start of a slower pace of life as it once was.

“Staying in work, volunteering or joining a community group can make sure people stay physically and mentally active for longer.

“The health benefits of this cannot be underestimated.”