Working after state-pension age

Funded by: Eurofound


December 2011 to June 2012

PSI researchers:

Deborah Smeaton

Sandra Vegeris

Background, summary and aims


The UK, like many other countries, has an ageing population - average life-expectancy has increased over the past two decades from 77 to 84 for women and for men from 71 to 81. At the same time, a declining birth-rate is leading to falling support ratios. Demographic and labour-market trends have led to concerns about poverty during old age and loss of skills to the economy. Although people are living longer, they are spending a relatively lower proportion of their lives in work than previous generations. Consequences arise both for the economy and for the ability of individuals to make adequate provision for later life. Extending working life and promoting the fourth pillar of income after retirement has therefore become a key policy objective.

Eurofound has commissioned PSI to conduct a UK study of paid employment after state pensionable age, to include an investigation of: employment trends; individual and job characteristics; employer good practice; and government policy. Research is being conducted by several European countries in tandem, these will be amalgamated into a single Europe-wide report.


At the level of the individual, the study will examine:
  • The incidence of and trends in employment after SPA
  • The type of work undertaken in terms of hours, pay, industry and occupation
  • The characteristics and motives of those working

At the level of employers the study will examine:

  • The policies of employers in relation to the recruitment and retention of staff over SPA, with an emphasis on ‘good practice’
  • How these policies are put into practice by line managers
  • Problems encountered and solutions sought

At the level of government policy, the study will examine:

  • Policy developments over the past 5 years or so in relation to older workers
  • The use of incentives and disincentives to extend working lives
  • The impact of a range of policy levers on employment after SPA


In order to meet the aims and objectives of the study, the research will consist of:

  • A literature review
  • A government policy review
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Business case studies

Related publications / project outputs

Working After State Pension Age: Qualitative Analysis