Rethinking Retirement: ESRC Seminar Series

  • Loretto, Wendy (Principal Investigator)
  • Lain, David (Principal Investigator)
  • Vickerstaff, Sarah (Principal Investigator)

Project Details

Layman's description

Population changes and workforce ageing are prompting a rethink of retirement by individuals, employers, governments and researchers. Increasing life expectancy and delays in the onset of ill health create potential opportunities for many of those who want to continue in employment or perform voluntary work. At the same time, due to financial pressures on pensions and public services, resulting from population ageing, in the future older people will have a greater need to work than at present. Final salary pensions, an important route to early retirement in the past, are in steep decline. Furthermore, government reforms mean that in future people will have to wait until after 65 for a state pension. To
address the need for longer working lives, the government has introduced age discrimination legislation with the possibility of covering over 65s from 2010.
In this context of a government agenda to extend the working life, there is already evidence of people delaying labour market exit. Those over state pension age are the fastest growing group in the UK labour market, and research suggests that this group blurs the divide between work and retirement by typically working part-time whilst drawing on a state pension (Smeaton and McKay, 2003). It may therefore be the case that not only will people leave the labour market later in future, those defining themselves as retired will increasingly perform paid work. This future is far from certain, however,
given unclear economic prospects, a strong preference for leisure amongst many, and the possibility of increased caring responsibilities for many of the younger old (including caring for parents and grandchildren).
This seminar series will therefore explore the extent to which retirement is changing, and likely to change, in future. Recognising that retirement changes are likely to be influenced by a multitude of factors, and have a number of
consequences, the series is innovative in bringing together researchers from a range of disciplines and fields of study.
Seminars will explore the changing context of retirement (seminar 1), retirement incomes (seminar 2), employment (seminar 3), active ageing (seminar 4), and the future of retirement (seminar 5). At the seminars established researchers will explore these issues alongside early career researchers, PhD students,
policy makers and NGO practitioners. In order to develop this broad community around the retirement issue, and gain the insights from different disciplines throughout the series, we have organised the funding to allow researchers to attend multiple sessions.
The findings uncovered by the participants are likely to be relevant and important to a great number of academic and nonacademic audiences. We have therefore carefully considered how to disseminate beyond the seminar participants. We plan to produce an edited collection of papers, a themed journal, research summaries for businesses and NGOs, press releases, a webpage and a blog.
Full economic cost - £17490
Effective start/end date1/11/101/06/12


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