The various transitions from work to retirement have undergone radical transformation over the past few decades. From a
period when individuals were encouraged and looked forward to retiring early we have entered an era when living longer is
presented as an opportunity, or an obligation, to work longer and extend our working lives. A review of the research
literature on the extension of working life has identified a variety of factors implicated in individual decision-taking. These
include: health status, pension provision, caring responsibilities, opportunities for flexible work and other external and
individual factors. Statistical models using these determinants have left much of the variance in employment between
individuals unexplained, because of the difficulty of capturing the complexity of factors in each case. The aim of this study
is to contribute to knowledge about the processes and factors which exert influence on working in later life with the aim of
enhancing policy development and employer practice.
The ending of the default retirement age (DRA) opens up a radically different environment for the individual and the
employer: both are entering periods of uncertainty in exploring work options for the future. The transition from work to
retirement is no longer well-institutionalised but much more subject to a myriad of organisational and individual pressures
which may be unpredictable; as such these transitions carry new risks both for employers and employees. This proposal
from a multidisciplinary team will use a mixed methods approach to develop a richer picture of what is happening at the end
of working life.