For the first time in half a decade a positive and non-financial motive is the most likely reason employees will work in later life. While economic factors are still playing a part in causing three quarters (72 per cent) of UK employees to say they’ll work beyond the age of 65, many are working for longer out of choice.

Graph 1: Reason for remaining in work – job satisfaction vs insufficient pension savings 2014-2018

More than a quarter of UK employees cite non-monetary reasons for working beyond the traditional retirement age, such as enjoying their job (36 per cent) and the benefits of social interaction (25 per cent). Work satisfaction is the most likely reason for employees to remain in work, ahead of insufficient pension pots (29 per cent) and a rising cost of living (24 per cent).

Table 1: Reasons for remaining in work post 65

If you are likely to work beyond the age of 65, why is that?  
I enjoy my job and would like to work for as long as possible 36 per cent
My pension will not be sufficient, so I need to continue earning a wage 29 per cent
I get other benefits from work, for example, social interaction 25 per cent
I have saved for my retirement, but the cost of living is so high I will still need a wage 24 per cent
I am worried about the cost of long-term care so would like to earn for as long as possible 21 per cent
I have not prepared for retirement/am not sure how long my money will last 21 per cent
I can no longer rely on a state pension/state benefits 21 per cent
To continue receiving valuable employee benefits 19 per cent
I have children to support at home/through university 13 per cent
I need to support an ill and/or elderly family member 8 per cent

Women are particularly likely to say they enjoy their job and want to work for as long as possible (39 per cent vs. 33 per cent of men). Men and women closest to retirement are even more likely to stay in work because they enjoy it with 65 per cent saying they will do so.

Employee benefits are increasingly sought after

Employees are not averse to making career moves past the age of 65. If they were considering looking for a new employer post-65, flexible working tops the priorities of UK workers (42 per cent), ahead of companies with a good reputation for taking care of older workers (31 per cent) and economic incentives (31 per cent).

Almost half of employees agree flexible working (25 per cent) and more part-time (20 per cent) opportunities are most important to support an older workforce. This is followed by new skills training (12 per cent) and age positive practices such as removing age barriers on apprenticeships (11 per cent).

Almost two thirds (60 per cent) say they’d be more inclined to work for an employer that supported their health and wellbeing with benefits and initiatives when thinking about working past 65. Income protection (35 per cent), life insurance (32 per cent) and critical illness cover (30 per cent) are ranked the most useful by those planning to work beyond the age of 65.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director of Canada Life Group Insurance, comments:

“Whilst financial concerns will never truly fade it is incredibly encouraging to see employees choosing to stay in work because they enjoy it and this changing attitude must be endorsed and reinforced by employers. Our research shows that creating an environment that is flexible to the changing needs of employees is key to attracting and retaining workers as they approach later life and continue into it.

“Increasing value is being placed on employee benefits packages by older workers which include products such as income protection and critical illness cover that protect staff financially in the event of ill-health. Older workers have a more immediate need for benefits packages as well as the wide range of support services they offer – from early intervention to employee assistance programmes and second medical opinion services – all of which can be used without being a claimant and so add additional, daily value to workforces.”