June 27 2003 - A report published earlier this year by the Department for Work and Pensions
provides information on the labour market participation of older people at,
and after, the State Pension Age (SPA). The research was conducted by the Policy
Studies Institute and the Personal Finance Research Centre at Bristol University.
* 8% of women at or above the age of 60, and 9% of men who are
65 or over are still in employment.
* Women who are separated or divorced are more likely to be working
than married women.
* Men and women who are owner-occupiers with outstanding mortgages
on their properties are most likely to be working. Tenants are among the least likely
* Over all, 40% of non-workers received an occupational pension,
compared to 33% of those who were still working. But the link between
employment and lower levels of occupational pension receipt was confined to men.
67% of non-working men had an occupational pension in comparison to 53% of working men.
- Having any educational qualifications was associated with working
past SPA, and having none was associated with leaving work.
- Important links were found between the participation rates of men
and women living in couples: 41% of post-SPA working men
had working partners compared with a mere 8% of
non-working men. 55% of working women had partners who
were also working, while just 11% of non-working women had
partners at work.
- Participation rates after SPA were not strongly associated with
regional unemployment levels. But the highest levels of
post-SPA employment were found in London - particularly inner London -
and the South East of England.
Types of jobs
- Three quarters of men and women who were working after SPA were in
jobs they had held prior to SPA. This proportion increases for full-time employees
but drops to a little over half for men working part-time.
Part-time opportunities seemed to be especially important for
post-SPA workers, the largest groups of employed and self-employed
men and women worked part- time, predominantly through choice
- Employer size was important with workers over SPA who were twice as
likely as other age groups to be employed in companies with one to
10 staff and far less likely to be employed in organisations with
over 50 staff.
- Reaching State Pension Age was not generally associated with
deterioration in hourly pay rates once occupational group,
employment status, sex and educational achievement were controlled
for. However, there was a gap between pre- and post- SPA wage
levels among men working full-time.
Dynamics of retirement
- The best predictor of being in work post-SPA overall is being in
work in the period just before. Most factors correlated with
working post-SPA worked through this link. Their independent effect
on working after 60/65 was much weaker.
- Rates of working were sustained for only a few years after State
Pension Age, and this only happens for those working in the period
just before SPA.
Effects of working past State Pension Age
- Men working past SPA reported financial situations that were
superior to those of non- workers. Some 59% of men working
past SPA said they were 'living comfortably', compared with 40% of those not working (and aged 65-75). Among women, 87 per
cent of workers over SPA said they were either 'living comfortably'
or 'doing all right', compared with 65%t of those women not
working. Median incomes of workers were around two-thirds
higher than among non-workers for both men and women.
- Around 76% of men working and aged 65-75 described their
health over the last years as either 'excellent' or 'very good',
compared with 54% of non-workers. Among women, 71%
of workers reported a similarly high level of health, compared with
49% of non-workers.
- Half the male workers, and approaching two-thirds of the women,
were saving money, compared with around one third of non-working
men and women. This could be evidence that they were putting money
away for their future retirement, particularly since the proportion
of people saving, compared to five years' previously, had fallen
for non-workers, but increased for workers.