Press release

'let us keep working after retirement', say over 50s

Friday 25 June 2010

One in three over 50’s want to continue working after the default retirement age but 60 per cent feel that there is a lack of support to help them do so, according to new research out today.

SAGA and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) say that a third of over 50’s believe a default retirement age is unnecessary with 90 per cent claiming that retirement shouldn’t be about age, but about ability and desire to work. 85 per cent say that the default retirement age is used as an excuse by employers to get rid of staff.

The survey of 13,040 over 50’s reveals that rather than being a drain on society in retirement, a third want to continue working after retirement age with a further 12 per cent wanting to contributing to society in some way – either through volunteering or caring.

The most common reason for wanting to keep working after retirement was to earn money (61 per cent) followed by wanting to keep an active mind (59 per cent) and enjoyment of working (50 per cent). 46 per cent agreed that it should be for the individual to decide when to retire, not the state. 46 per cent also stated that they could not afford to stop working at the default retirement age.

Emma Soames, Editor of SAGA magazine, says: ‘Our research very clearly shows that a default retirement age is arbitrary for many people approaching retirement and many feel unsupported, particularly if they want to continue working. Moving from full time work to retirement should be a process of winding down - more akin to strolling down to the beach rather than being pushed off the cliff edge.”

Further research shows:

· A third (35 per cent) of over 50’s want to continue working after the state retirement age, whether full time, part time work or by setting up a business

· A third (31 per cent) want to stop working before the state retirement age and 14 per cent want to stop working at the state retirement age

· 67 per cent believe a default retirement age is unnecessary and irrelevant

Jonathan Kestenbaum, Chief Executive of NESTA, says: ‘Against a backdrop of an ageing society and strained public services older workers can contribute immeasurably to the economy and society. Our survey shows that they want choice and flexibility in how they live their lives. We need a radical rethink of how we engage with older people. ’

NESTA’s ‘Age Unlimited’ programme works with people in their 50s, their employers and third sector organisations to experiment with new work patterns and lifestyle choices, that enable individuals to continue to contribute to the economy and society. NESTA has invested in 11 projects (some of described at the bottom of the release) that aim to create more opportunities and flexibility for a new old age. For more information please visit


Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact Jan Singleton in NESTA’s Press Office on 020 7438 2606 or email: or Paul Green, Head of Communication at Saga Group, on 01303 776 023, mobile: 07714 414 859 or email:


Populus received 13,040 responses from SAGA readers aged 50 and over to its online poll for SAGA between 11th and 17th June 2010.


NESTA is an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative to drive economic recovery and solve some of the UK’s major social challenges. Our endowment status means we operate at no cost to the UK taxpayer.

NESTA is a world leader in its field and is in a unique position to support innovation through a blend of practical programmes, policy and research and investment in early-stage companies.

NESTA has also conducted research into the contribution of over 50’s to starting new businesses. ‘The Grey Economy’ shows how, as the population is getting older, the economic contribution of over 50’s is also increasing. More people are working beyond statutory retirement age. And more of them are running their own businesses. To read more visit

About SAGA

Saga has 2.7 million customers and is the UK’s leading provider of products and services specifically designed for people aged 50 and over. Saga provides package holidays, cruises insurance, savings & investments, financial advice, domiciliary care. Saga Magazine is read by some 2 million people every month and operates the over 50s social media site

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The charity Grandparentsplus are developing a reward scheme, which recognises and rewards the vital role that grandparents play in providing significant levels of child care to grandchildren.

Prescribing Volunteering (Petersfield, East Hampshire)

Portsmouth Diocesan Council for Social Responsibility are developing a service that will ‘prescribe’ a programme of volunteering to unemployed patients in their 50s and 60s through GP practices.


Nick Ralph

023 9289 9674

Act 50:50 (NHS South Birmingham)

The Institute of Health, Design and Technology and NHS South Birmingham are developing a career planning service to enable health professionals such as nurses and radiographers to continue to work after their retirement age.

Workplace Carers Network

The charity Carers UK are developing a social network for employed carers to enable them to share tips and advice as to how to balance work and caring responsibilities.



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