A topic of conversation which currently has a number of people a little hot under the collar is the default retirement age. The coalition government is planning on scrapping the default retirement age of 65 from October 2011 in a bid to get people to fund more of their retirement by working for longer.
There have been mixed reviews to this news, however, most would assume that this change is thought of negatively by the majority. Controversially, according to a new CIPD survey, ‘Employee Outlook: focus on the ageing workforce’, this assumption is wrong and in fact nearly half of the UK workforce is in favour of extending working lives.
The survey highlighted that a significant proportion, 41% of the 2000 employees who were questioned, plan to work beyond the state retirement age and only 29% do not. Interestingly, nearly half of all respondents are against the employers’ right to force employees to retire at 65 and only 25% support the legislation which was introduced in 2006.
Older workers are more likely to disagree with the default retirement age – nearly 60% of those aged 55 above disagreed, with 72% of those planning to work beyond retirement age stating ‘financial’ as the reason for their extended work life. This is not surprising given the worrying situation regarding pensions, however, according to a survey conducted by Barclays almost two thirds of wealthy individuals in the UK also wish to keep working beyond retirement. Thus perhaps people’s need to utilise their skills (47%) and interact with others (41%) in the work place are more important that the CIPD’s survey suggest?
Whatever the reasons for employees wishing to continue working past default retirement age it can be agreed that, as diversity adviser for the CIPD, Dianah Worman, says “its removal will put employers in a strong position to access a wider pool of mature talent.” Moreover, Dianah informs us “Employers that already operate without a formal retirement age report that older worker typically have a great rapport with customers, as well as a conscientious attitude and real enthusiasm for the job.”
The CIPD advise employers to ensure that their people management policies and practices are up to scratch and that key working practices such as ‘flexible working’ (28% of survey respondents highlighted this as a key factor in encouraging work beyond retirement age) are in place to enable them to manage a more age diverse workforce. Necessary dismissals should also be conducted fairly and employees should never feel that they have been discriminated against for their age.