In the United Kingdom, retirement age is rising faster than healthy working life expectancy.
According to a recent study, policies to extend working lives and raise the state pension age may fail in the current economic climate in the UK.
The study, which was published in Nature Aging and included Newcastle University, discovered that the number of years people may stay healthy and in work is increasing, but not at the same rate as life expectancy and not at a rate that corresponds to the rising state pension age.
The study contrasted predicted advances in both life expectancy and state pension age, when most individuals can financially afford to retire, to forecasts of healthy working life expectancy (HWLE) up to 2035.
The number of people who are in good health is not increasing at the same rate.
Previous studies suggested that people in England over the age of 50 can expect to be healthy and working for another nine years, raising concerns about whether a sufficient number of people can work until they are eligible for the state pension.
These new findings add to the debate by indicating that, while people in the UK are expected to work longer and retire later as the state pension age rises, the number of years that people aged 50 and overspend working in good health is not increasing at a proportionate rate due to longer life expectancies.
Newcastle University’s Professor Carol Jagger stated, «Other data on the increased frequency of several long-term diseases in future generations of persons entering old age support this mismatch between life expectancy and HWLE.
«However, the growing need for older workers, particularly women, to care for aging parents can have negative health consequences.
«As a result, businesses must be aware of the important external forces that can impact the health of their older workforce, in addition to promoting good health and offering assistance and accommodations for individuals who already have long-term problems.»
Experts argue that more research should be done on how to improve HWLE so that more people can have healthy working lives, as they are not currently being extended in step with policy developments.
Dr. Marty Lynch, the study’s principal author from Keele University, stated, «Waiting for a State Pension for a longer period of time is unlikely to be made easier by more healthy working years.
«In order to lengthen working lives in line with policy aims, evidence-based interventions to promote population health, wellbeing, and job opportunities are required.»
More research is needed.
Dr. Ross Wilkie, the study’s senior investigator from Keele University, adds, «The findings suggest that more interventions and policies are needed if people are to stay healthy and working into their later years.
«There are many targets for this, but three in particular to highlight are employment opportunities that allow people to match their abilities with jobs as they get older; positive work environments that provide support and accommodations to maintain work participation; and third, a focused approach on health promotion and illness prevention in workers, which often requires collaboration with employers, and there are already good examples of this.»