Once More to the Well?: Planning for Retirement and Associated Transitions

John Moriarty, Paula McFadden, Patricia Gillen, Heike Schröder, Jill Manthorpe

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The ageing of the population is pressurising frontline health and social service professionals in two respects: demands are increasing need in the population; and expectations for the length of their working life are changing. For some people the prospect of working longer represents an opportunity for continued social connectivity and meaning; for others, it represents continuation of demanding work patterns which do not support health and wellbeing.
In this presentation, we explore some potential consequences of moves to postpone retirement and prolong working lives and challenges in forecasting who might benefit from various policy responses. We present data from a survey of 1300 UK social workers who were asked about their perception of late career and retirement, about their levels of wellbeing and their intentions to leave work. The survey contained open text fields in which participants could describe their perceptions in their own words.
Plans and expectations around retirement varied greatly across the sample. Many have no immediate plans to retire, with one participant anticipating dropping to “four days per week in my 70s and three in my 80s”, while others had availed of early or flexible retirement schemes. We show patterning in retirement planning by sex, work pattern, area of work and personal circumstances.
We found strong associations between some of the reasons identified for retirement and wellbeing indicators in both directions. There was also patterning around the type of organisational provisions which people favoured and those same wellbeing indicators. For example, respondents who favoured retraining for a new role towards the end of their career were more likely to have had sickness absence of up to 20 days in the previous year.
We also describe a counterfactual schema for imagining groupings within the population based on the relationship between retirement and wellbeing and test how the data support detection of such groupings.
Findings are discussed in terms of the array of policy options available either to government or to employer organisations to safeguard wellbeing on.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2019
EventNevin Economic Research Institute: 7th Labour Market Conference - Ulister University Magee Campus, Derry/Londonderry, United Kingdom
Duration: 01 May 2019 → …


ConferenceNevin Economic Research Institute: 7th Labour Market Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period01/05/2019 → …
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