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British people working past retirement age 'almost doubled over last 20 years'

By Helen Gradwell

14 June2021

The Financial Times reports that the number of people in Britain working past retirement age has nearly doubled over the last 20 years. This can be attributed to a number of factors - from wanting to remain in the workplace to trying to clear debts.

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that the proportion of older people in employment has increased to 12% in 2011 from 7.6% in 1993. 61% of the workers past pension age are women, and 39% are men.

The Financial Times suggested that men may continue to pursue work because they still enjoy the status and challenge that comes with it, whereas women may be driven to work longer because they don't have adequate pension benefits.

The director of policy at the National Association of Pension Funds, Darren Philip, said: "Having more older people in the workforce will increasingly become the norm." He added that the risk of this was that some of those with inadequate pension savings may not be able to find work. This could lead to a growing number of older people experiencing debt problems during retirement.

The ONS found that men above pension age tend to be employed in occupations that are more highly skilled - such as marketing and sales directors and property managers. These jobs pay higher salaries and are likely to offer retirement benefits. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be employed as retail assistants, care workers and cleaners.

Keith Frost from the Age and Employment Network said: "Many of these women may have been in part-time work when they were younger where they did not have access to occupational pensions." He added that a large number of women might not have obtained higher skills because they left school before it became very common for women to go to university.

An expert from Think Money added: "If you're above or approaching state pension age, it's important to make sure that you're claiming everything you're entitled to. In some cases you can carry on working and claim your state pension.

"It's important to try and make sure that you're properly prepared for the future. Regularly paying into a pension and savings account over a long period of time could give you enough to retire comfortably. If you're over pension age and you're still in debt, a part time job could help. However, if you're unable to get a job - or it still isn't enough to cover your unsecured debt repayments - it's really important that you seek expert debt advice."

Tags: debt, retirement, employment, Office for National Statistics, ONS, pensions, unsecured debt

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