Long reads

How the rise in pension age may affect your career

Kirstie McDermott

Kirstie McDermott

Senior Content Editor, Amply

In 1950, the average age of retirement in the UK was 67.2 for men, and 63.9 for women. By 1990, that had dropped to 63.1 for men, and 60.6 for women. Retirement age has been on an upward trend ever since, and by 2019, the average retirement age was 65.3 years old for men, and 64.3 for women.

Currently, the age you can qualify for the state pension is 66 for men and women. From May 2026, that age will start increasing again, reaching 67 by March 2028, and will affect anyone born between 6th April 1960 and 5th April 1977.

The UK is by no means an outlier: Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, and Italy all have retirement ages of 67.

The situation in France has brought the issue into a sharp new light. Civil unrest has been sparked across the country since January, when French President Emmanuel Macron announced pension reforms, moving the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

While Macron is facing significant backlash from voters, he has so far refused to compromise or backtrack.

60 year career

As reality bites, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that from April to June 2022, the number of people aged 65 years and over in employment increased by a record 173,000 in that quarter to 1.468 million––a record level.

By 2024, it's estimated that 36% of those aged 65 to 69 will be employed, giving rise to the new phenomena of the 60 year career, where people remain in the workforce into their 70s.

Pension reforms are one driver of this, but there are other factors. Global surges in inflation, and the rising cost of living are causing ‘unretirement’, where those who had previously stopped work are returning to work, as opposed to simply working longer.

Data from the ONS found that there was an increase in economic activity (those working or looking for work) of 116,000 among the over-50s from 2021 to 2022, with more than half the total increase among men aged over 65. Their economic activity levels increased by 66,000, or 8.5%, in a year compared to 6.8% more women over 65 who were working or looking for work.

Economic factors are not the only driver of a longer working life. As life expectancy and healthcare steadily improves, this is giving rise to an older workforce. Whereas ​​life expectancy at birth in the UK in the 1950s was 69, for those born between 2018 to 2020, life expectancy is 79 years for men and 82.9 years for women.

Many upsides

The upshot is that many Britons can expect to be working for longer than they may have anticipated at the start of their careers. There are many upsides, especially for mental and physical health.

A study published in the CDC journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, discovered that those working beyond 65 were half as likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease or cancer. Research has also linked working past retirement to a reduced risk of dementia.

For employees to stay in the workforce post-retirement age, work needs to look different. Older workers can be tapped for their skills, experience, and professionalism, but new ways of accommodating them will be needed. Whether that is reduced hours, or having the ability to work from home, access to their talent is important for businesses, as many seek to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Diverse teams make better business decisions up to 87%  of the time, according to a survey, with those decisions delivering 60% better results.

Whatever age or career stage you are at, having a long-term plan is never a bad thing. Discover jobs you are right for now, as well as opportunities to work towards, on the Finextra Job Board.

Starling Bank

Digital challenger bank Starling provides current and business bank accounts in the United Kingdom. It is branch-free and since conception, has seen more than three million accounts activated across four account types. Starling is hiring for a number of roles including Senior Compliance Director and Full Stack Developer.

Want to see more? Check out all open roles here.


DE&I is important at PayPal, with plenty of resource groups to choose from for employees. Despite recent news that the company is to shed 7% of its workforce globally, PayPal continues to hire in key areas including Integration Engineers and IT managers.

See all open roles.


Spendesk’s software is used to streamline the complicated and bureaucratic process of managing company money with its spend management solution. Providing businesses with visibility and control, it allows finance teams to focus on strategic topics.

Right now, the company is hiring for engineering roles in London––discover those here.

Want a new fintech role? Browse the Finextra Job Board to find your perfect fit.

Comments: (0)