Changing priorities, transformed opportunities?: Why people work after state pension age

summary:

In addressing why some people work after state pension age, this paper draws upon recent qualitative research to argue that work decisions reflect long-standing dispositions and priorities, and are critically informed by opportunity structures. Drawing upon a typology distinguishing between -workers' and -professionals and creatives', and within these subgroups of -entrepreneurs' and -portfolio workers', which reflect particular patterns of self-employment, the paper illustrates that qualitatively different meanings are associated with work, and argues that class distinctions form the basis of particular sets of priorities and practices. Work orientations are considered against the context of opportunity structures, including work intensification, restructuring and the decline of traditional industries, and shifts in health and care responsibilities, which may revise people's options at state pension age. Revisiting the traditional relationship between class and work, examining both cultural and economic factors, new conceptual insight may be gained into the reproduction and persistence of social inequalities over the life course.

Research Discussion Paper 23

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