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School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 1 Extending Working Lives Wendy Loretto The University of Edinburgh Scottish Policy Innovation.

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Presentation on theme: "School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 1 Extending Working Lives Wendy Loretto The University of Edinburgh Scottish Policy Innovation."— Presentation transcript:

1 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 1 Extending Working Lives Wendy Loretto The University of Edinburgh Scottish Policy Innovation Forum 11 April 2008

2 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 2 On the threshold of a new era? In an era of workforce ageing and increasing life expectancy working longer may be presented as an unavoidable obligation. The Governments urge to extend our working lives is summed up in the title of the recent OECD review of policies: Live Longer, Work Longer.

3 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 3 The Government role in extending working life Legislation on discrimination Raising state pension ages Reducing incentives in benefit and pension regimes to retire early or take ill-health or disability pathways out of work Active supply side labour market policies, e.g. encouraging or subsidising people back into work; making work pay through tax regimes, training measures Less able to affect demand for older workers?

4 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 4 Increasing state pension age Women have seen most significant change up to 65 by 2020 and then for both sexes up to 68 by 2044 Generally unpopular, seen as Government withholding deserved right to a pension at 65 Average retirement ages; * men – 63 * women – 61 (Phillipson and Smith, 2005)

5 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 5 Economic activity status of women and men aged 50+ (GB) Age% In employment% ILO unemployed % Inactive WomenMenWomenMenWomenMen # ##9895 Total (50+) Notes:#Less than 0.5% (numbers too small to be statistically reliable). Source: Analysis from Labour Force Survey, Jan-Mar 2007 (weighted)

6 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 6 Current qualitative research Commissioned by DWP – Extending working lives Collaboration with Sarah Vickerstaff (University of Kent) Interviews with couples and individuals (96 people – 49 women, 47 men) Based in three areas: Edinburgh, Nottingham and Thanet Sample selected on the basis of age (50-64), income, labour market status, health and domestic circumstances

7 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 7 Overview of attitudes 1. Not considering working for longer or after retirement Strong feelings of having done enough Caring responsibilities Tax effect on pension Jobs available Retirement as release from a boring job

8 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 8 2. Would consider working for longer or after retirement Preference for flexible work, part-time or short contracts: a little part time job In a different job Strong gender differences: women give social reasons or need to keep busy Little sense of planning for this: fantasy jobs Work needing to fit round other aspects of life and not vice versa as had been the case during much of working life Importance of choice

9 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 9 Major influences on decisions Ability to exercise choice unevenly distributed Caring and health issues blend with finance and job satisfaction to exert push and pull effects on continuing work Major gender differences reflecting gendered work histories and experiences

10 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 10 No because I only worked part-time, I never… and although it was a different way, you know, people used to pay stamps, big stamps, wee stamps, as they were called, so that was all… and because I never settled really until I was probably 26 and then studied for 2 years and then worked for 2 years and then stopped working, so really by the time I got back into the workforce I was about 35, 36, so… and that would be right – 45 I started paying into… (ES46_F)

11 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 11 Major influences on decisions Role of employers is likely to be pivotal in influencing attitudes towards retirement v. working longer Do you know what I think would have been a nice thing for somebody to have to do, even though youre retiring, is have somebody in from a careers service. So that youre not being written off. Youre retiring, youre stopping one job, but theres still lots of options open to you that you could.. (EC35_F)

12 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 12 Major influences on decisions Legacy of bitterness and mistrust over pensions issues I mean weve tried to save some money over the years specifically as a buffer zone for when he did retire. What plans we had were scuppered, you know, when this war happened and all the exchange rate went down because suddenly it was index linked. Weve been so discriminated against because over the years we tried to save something. You know I wouldnt advise anybody to save any money nowadays. (TS22_F)

13 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 13 Major influences on decisions Cynicism about Governments motives for: ~ changing state pension ages ~ introducing Age Regulations ~ state pension deferral

14 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 14 Personally I think its a bad idea because youve worked all your life and you want to get as much out of the government as you possibly can because theyre quick enough to take it off you (EC50_M) I think its a cop-out for the government honestly. Its a way of them keeping the money, hoping you cop your toes and they keep the money! (NS69_F) Yeah. So you die and dont get anything. No way. (TC14_F)

15 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 15 Major influences on decisions Effects of erroneous or incomplete knowledge on attitudes and behaviour

16 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 16 Policy Implications Employers Active consideration of how they may retain older workers Combining work with caring responsibilities Accommodating health problems Attention to job quality Flexible work options Government – key role in addressing the information gaps State pension age/pension deferral Pensions and financial advice

17 School of Business and Economics University of Edinburgh 17 Report details Full report about to be published by DWP If interested, contact me


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