June 17, 2021

Half as many UK women as men can afford to retire early

Half as many UK women as men can afford to retire early

According to new research from retirement specialists Just Group, nearly one in three men have the financial means to retire earlier than the current retirement age of 66, but only one in six women are in the same financial position.

The Pensions Policy Institute calculates that women’s average private pension income is, on average, £4,700 less than that of men as a result of women being paid less and taking time out of the workplace to raise children.

As reported on inews.com, however, many women still find themselves forced to stop working because of poor health and caring responsibilities. Thirty-seven percent of women leave work before they reach 66 because of poor health, compared to 29% of men. While family caring responsibilities force 14% of women to retire early, compared to 4% of men.

However, men are more likely to leave the work force completely when they struggle to find a new job after losing an existing job. Seventeen percent of men have to retire after losing their job compared to 12% of women.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, older workers’ employment has declined by over 100,000 in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Just Group’s group communications director, Stephen Lowe, says that older workers may find it harder to re-enter the labor market post-Covid and as a result “struggle to accumulate additional pension savings or feel forced into retirement.”

“The labor market position of older workers is cause for concern in many industrialized countries,” writes Matteo Picchio in his IZA World of Labor article. “Rapid population aging is challenging pension systems,” he reports.

Picchio says “[t]raining specifically designed for older workers might help [encourage people to work longer and foster their employability], since it may refresh human capital and reduce the pay–productivity gap.” 

He recommends training that is age-specific, “as learning in older adults benefits from self-paced, job-related, and work-integrated learning activities.”  

Find IZA World of labor content on aging workforces and pensions reform.

Read Matteo Picchio’s IZA World of Labor article in full: “Is training effective for older workers?