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Planning Retirement Online

Work and Retirement - Survey Results


The results are in!


Firstly a big thank you to everybody who took part in the laterlife Work and Retirement survey. Thanks to your responses we have come up with some interesting statistics reflecting your opinions on a range of later life issues.

If you didn't participate in the survey, we would  welcome your input in our new survey.

Before we start the results breakdown we’d like to spend a brief moment describing our sample, to give you an idea of the wide range of opinions we received. The survey was open to all visitors to laterlife and we believe represents a good cross-section of our audience.

We asked the respondents to give their occupations and the result was an amazingly wide spectrum of professionals – both retired and still working. Across  fields such as – IT, Healthcare, Education, Engineering, Retail and Local Government as well as self employed and at every level up to and including MDs! Ages 18-80 (well actually thirty-five to eighty but it doesn’t have the same ring)!


Many of you were kind enough to include comments on your answers and we will endeavour to use these to illustrate the story the numbers are trying to tell. So sit back and enjoy the results of the first-ever laterlife Work and Retirement survey…..

First a rundown of the population we used and a note on the figures:

  • Split 57.9% to 42.1% in favour of the chaps.
  • 60.5% of our sample are retired.
  • Which splits down further to 70.5% of our male respondents being retired and 46.9% of the women.
  • The women respondents averaged about 5 years younger than the men.
  • Where figures are given they will be as a percentage of a group within the sample (i.e. retired, non-retired, men, women). Where no information on sub-group is given the percentage is of the entire sample population.
  • Our results have to be qualified by recognising that we have a statistically small sample and therefore can't draw national implications from them, but nevertheless they provide important indicators which merit   more detailed study  


Now onto the main headlines of the survey:


1) “If you aren’t yet retired do you intend to keep on working at some level in retirement (either paid or voluntary)? If you are retired, are you working or intending to work?

  • Despite a fair few (17.1%) ‘no comments’ the majority (46.1%) of you felt that you would like to keep working through retirement, although women who didn't want to, slightly outnumbered those women who wished to keep working (43.8% v 40.6%).


“Although stating no wish to work, I qualify this with working on a voluntary basis”

“I retired from fulltime working when I was 60 and went on to two days a week for some five years. I now work for a number of voluntary organisations.”

 “I went to work the day my husband retired and worked for 10 years--not  quitting till 75.”


2) “Would you value (or if retired would you have valued) the opportunity to reduce your worktime gradually as you approach retirement, irrespective of what the retirement age may be set at?’

  • A resounding response in favour of reduced working time as you approach retirement! Nearly 80% of our respondents (78.9% to be exact) would value the opportunity and women were overwhelmingly (87.5%) in favour. Interestingly (or perhaps not!) those of you who haven’t yet retired were the strongest supporters with a positive vote from 88.5% of respondents.


“Your questions are slanted to encourage people to give the answers you want i.e. "I want to reduce my working time gradually".  While it might be nice to do so, it's not very important. I'd far rather have a job, whatever the hours!”


3) “Do you believe reducing your worktime gradually would enhance your quality of life?”

  • Another resounding result in favour with 80.3% of respondents seeing reduced working as an enhancement, with the women again being the major proponents at 90.6% in favour and 92.3% of non-retirees eager for the chance. However 20.5% of men thought there would be no improvement.


“I had the opportunity to take an early semi retirement about 5 years ago and have gradually reduced my number of days in the office to 1 per week normally. I also do a few hours from home each week. I was not originally expecting to still be  working, but am glad of  the opportunity to   provide more income  particularly as  interest rates have fallen so much lately.”


4) “If retirement age has to be raised to 70 would you view the opportunity to gradually reduce worktime from a much earlier age as a good trade off?”

  • Although most respondents view this as a good trade off (65.8%) many think working less for longer is not a greatly attractive prospect. Especially among retired women where the sample is split nearly down the middle (53.3% good trade off, 46.7% bad trade off). Some of the comments will definitely help to illuminate…


“The thought that I may have had to work to 70, even part-time, as a teacher is a terrifying thought!”

“I don’t think it is a good idea to raise the age to 70 to retire.  Maybe reduce it to work just two to three days a week from the age of sixty would be fine.”

People are living longer, their health is better and they will have too many retirement years for the State to support them financially without contributing more to the system. I think it is right for people to work for more years.”


5) “Would you like to be able to work from home, either full or part time?”

  • Far more mixed responses to this question although still in keeping with the general feeling that reducing work time as you approach retirement is a benefit. Over half (52.6%) would like to work part time from home, although almost a third (28.9%) would prefer not to work at all. The most interesting results are that none (0%) of the retired women in our survey would want to work full time from home, and that 84.7% who have yet to retire are keen on working from home.


“Just to add that this has real meaning for me at present. Due to redundancy (end of  September) I am having to completely rethink the last quarter (?) of my working life. Being free to make decisions about self-employment, part-time working, and flexible location are all important considerations. I would welcome more information and choices.”

“My new job post-retirement from Civil Service is hourly paid Consultancy and this is an ideal situation.”


6) “Would you value the opportunity to start a business venture in later life, if government action created assistance and a good environment to do so?”

  • An even result with attitudes split nearly down the middle. 53.9% would value the opportunity whereas 44.7% wouldn’t. This split continued in most of the groups, however slightly more men than women were interested (56.8% Vs 50.0%) and a far larger proportion of the non-retired (73.1%) would be eager to start out on their own if the government provided the framework and support.


7) “If not your own business, would you be interested in being part of a business start up in later life?”

  • Very similar results to the previous question (55.3% interested, and less than 5% variation across the rest of the sub-groups answers). It seems that the people who want to be part of their own concern will settle for a piece rather than the whole pie!


8) “Would you be prepared to work on an entrepreneurial basis in a start up where a high proportion of your income was related to the success of the company?”

  • Straight away there is an unsurprising drop in people willing to risk their income on an entrepreneurial business. 61.8%  would not get involved. However even so, a large 42.3% of the non-retired group were in favour. A few respondents had taken the chance and their comments are below.


“I started my own business 10 years ago, and it grew in a way that I hadn't imagined. I gradually employed more staff. Next year I will be 60 yrs old, but do not plan to retire. It keeps my brain moving!”

"I started up a new business aged 53 and intend to continue working full-time until at least 65. Company seems to be doing well because of the experience brought to it. But thankfully we still make and learn from mistakes. But probably worry less about getting things wrong - the only way you go forward!” 


9) “Has your working life changed for the better over the last 5-10 years (or over the last 5-10 years you were working)? What is the main reason for this?”

  • Sadly it appears that for the majority of people (53.9% worse v 34.2% better) working life has been getting worse. In every sub-group we used to analyse the responses, more than half felt that things had gone down hill. It’s in the comments that we received however, that the reasons for these attitudes become apparent and also where we can see that perhaps there is a silver lining for some people.


“My four children are all in their 30s being a chartered accountant, an architect, in IT, and a school teacher are all expected to work much longer hours than the usual 37 or so. It will be hard to change the status quo.” “Changing conditions in the workplace and the need to work full time because of the final salary pension.”

“Worse - conflict between old training and ultra new ideas i.e. national curriculum stifling creative  teaching.”

“Loss of trust in individuals doing the job they are paid to do. Too much form filling and too many unproductive meetings.”

“Employers are requiring younger people.”

“Illness not appreciated by younger management.”

“Non stimulating work, staying only for pension at 60(?)- difficult to find comparable income in more interesting/rewarding  post.”

“I was upgraded; gained opportunity to learn computers, and gained income from it.”

“Computerisation made a big difference to my job.”

“I started music classes, became my own boss and have 9 staff working for me.”

“Only been working full time for the last 13 years - family grown up, less home responsibilities, more freedom, more free time. Responsible job, job satisfaction.  Not just MUM.”


10/11) “Have you ever been impacted by ageist views or policies in the workplace?” “Have you ever seen colleagues impacted by ageist views or policies in the workplace?”

  • We’ve chosen to combine these questions together as they are obviously related and there is a distinct variation in the responses. Many more people reported colleagues being affected than themselves (43.4% v 28.9%). Interestingly more women than men reported ageism against themselves (37.5% v 22.7%), a result increased perhaps by sexist views and policies combining with ageism?
    The majority had neither experienced ageism themselves (63.2%) nor seen it in action against others (53.9%). However the non-retirees came out far more even (ageism self: 42.3% Yes; 53.8% No. Ageism others: 50.0% Yes; 50.0% No).


“Sexism is also a big problem when self employed in particular in relation to property ownership. A woman developer is charged much more for work by tradesmen than men are.”

“Opportunities for an interesting social life for the over fifties doesn't seem to have kept pace with the changes. We are marginalised by the entertainment, leisure and fashion industries and the media.”

“Ageism gives power to employers to dictate worse working conditions & give lower payscales for all grades of candidates.”

“Unable to get another job in current role because of age.”

“I was made redundant from full-time post because of my age and salary - company lost my expertise and knowledge for short term gains.”

“I felt forced to take early retirement through ageism.”

“Employers are requiring younger people.”



All in all it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from our results. However they certainly suggest trends which merit further investigation.

Entrepreneurial in laterlife! While believing that there would be a significant number of people who would be interested in starting or being part of a start up business in later life, we were surprised that over 50% of respondents expressed interest. This would seem to indicate a genuine entrepreneurial spirit and if refelected nationally, something that we should be capitalising on.

Reducing working time consensus - the biggest consensus of all was around the value that individuals would put on being able to gradually reduce working time as they approached retirement, even where this meant working for more years. Again we believe this is an important indicator for both employers and Government.

Working life going down hill - the responses to whether or not working life has got better could support an entire survey themselves! For many of our respondents (apologies for the comments we couldn’t include) the last 5-10 years have brought about many changes – some good and some bad. It is very worrying that over 50% of us feel it has got worse.

Home-working and flexible hours have enabled more freedom in how we create our work-life balance and the opportunity to start your own business has led to positive outcomes for at least some of the people in our survey.

Perhaps not surprisingly our survey confirms the results of other surveys, that ageism in the workplace is a big issue and of course Government is already trying to take action on this with their Age Positive campaign and planned legislation.

Wider concerns

In processing the results it became apparent that many people had wider concerns than the deliberately narrow questions we used in the survey. Whilst we appreciate that we have not dealt with issues such as illness and its effect on work life, and the much broader issue of ageism in society, unfortunately we had to restrict the scope of our analysis for this survey. All of the various comments have been noted however and will be used to help direct further surveys that we undertake. We would encourage you to use the framework of this survey on the discussion boards in laterlife café. We will post this analysis so you can initiate a discussion on any of the questions. Your opinions are valued and we would love to see a real debate on these issues.

Final words

In closing we would like to finish with a quote from one of our respondents, which we feel has a real resonance for many in later life:


“Life seems to be turned around. You have money and possessions that you worked hard for many times at the expense of family and friends. Now we have more of everything except family and friends whom we would have enjoyed sharing these pleasures with. Life is a funny old thing.”


and that is in a sense where we came in with the survey - would reducing work time gradually, be the opportunity that enhances our quality of life? We'd like to hear your thoughts on this and any of the other aspects of the survey in the laterlife cafe.

In the meantime don't forget is all about helping to enjoy later life to the full, including meeting new friends and making the most of relationships with friends and family.

So make sure you make the most of your laterlife!



If you didn't originally participate in the survey we would very much like to hear your views as part of our new survey  – simply click here to complete the survey and to read the associated article 'The opportunity of a lifetime'..


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