Later Life  

Half of over 60s see age as career barrier

Half of over 60s see age as career barrier

Half of 60 year olds are not willing to retire but believe that their age has become a barrier to their career progression, according to research from Aviva.

The research, published today (May 16), found that out of 2020 employees surveyed, 49 per cent of those aged 60 to 64 were not willing to retire, increasing to 61 per cent for those over the age of 65.

However, the research, carried out in January 2019, found that more than a third (37 per cent) of employees aged 60-64 believe there is age discrimination in their workplace, with 19 per cent saying that younger colleagues were favoured over the older generation.

Aviva found that those who are still working in their 60s are more likely than those in their 40s and 50s to be motivated to do so because they enjoy their job, or for the social benefits of interacting with colleagues.

Attitudes to work in mid-life among those aged 45 plus



45-54 (%)

55-59 (%)

60-64 (%)

65+ (%)

Feel they are not ready to retire






Motivated to continue working because they enjoy their job






Motivated to continue working for social interaction






Feel there is age discrimination against older workers in their organisation






Claire Turner, director of evidence at the charitable foundation Centre for Ageing Better, said: "It’s really positive that many people in their 50s and 60s want to carry on working. Good quality work can provide a sense of meaning and purpose and enable people to save more for later life.

"Older workers can bring a wealth of skills and experience that are incredibly valuable. With skills and labour shortages predicted in future, employers will need to recruit, retain and support those older workers if they want to remain competitive

"Employers must better support their older workers, eliminate age-discrimination in employment practices and deliver progression and development opportunities for everyone, regardless of age."

According to analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics by Aviva there are currently 10m workers over the age of 50 and in the next decade this population is forecast to grow to represent more than a third of all workers in the UK.

Lindsey Rix, managing director of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: "Evolving social and workplace trends mean we must all be prepared for a more fluid working life.

"The mid-life population offers invaluable skills and experience that companies are potentially missing out on. Companies need to take action – not doing so risks a punishing labour shortage in the years to come and a huge waste of talent and potential."

Andrew Pennie, head of pathways at Intelligent Pensions, said: "State pension ages have been increasing and many people approaching retirement simply haven’t saved enough.

"At the other end of the spectrum you have the younger generation who are struggling to find suitable jobs, establish a career and do the things that those benefits allow such as buying a house or starting a family.

"Businesses need to strike a balance between supporting both sets of employees, and everything in between, and that is no easy task."

At the beginning of this month Aviva launched a programme which gave its employees aged over 45 access to a free 30-minute consultation with a qualified financial adviser.