The United Kingdom-a new moral imperative: Live longer, work longer

Sarah Vickerstaff*, Wendy Loretto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The drift of government policy affecting older workers in the UK has been focused on encouraging individual responsibility for working longer and saving more, often with an idealised 'adult worker' in mind; an individual devoid of family context and family demands and accumulated advantages or disadvantages. As a result the policies have a differential impact on women and men and diverse incomes groups and are likely to lead to greater inequality between older workers. The focus on the individual (the supply side in the labour market) also takes emphasis away from the problem of demand: whether employers want to retain or recruit older workers. There is an increasingly strong moral assertion that to live longer should mean to work longer, but research demonstrates that those most likely to be unemployed before state pension age are out of work because of lack of job opportunities, poor health or caring responsibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Ageing and Extended Working Life
Subtitle of host publicationCross-National Perspectives
EditorsÁine Ní Léime, Debra Street, Sarah Vickerstaff, Clary Krekula, Wendy Loretto
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781447325130, 9781447325154, 978-1447325147
ISBN (Print)9781447325116, 9781447325123
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameAgeing in a Global Context
PublisherPolicy Press


  • individual responsibility
  • state pension age
  • family and caring responsibilities
  • ill-health
  • gendered effects


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