This report was authored by Dr Martin Hyde, Swansea University, Ms Maria Cheshire-Allen, Swansea University, Dr Marleen Damman, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, Prof Kene Henkens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, Dr Loretta Platts, Stress Research Institute, Dr Katrina Pritchard, Swansea University, Dr Cara Reed, Swansea University.
Retirement from work is a major life transition. For many, retirement from paid employment is something to look forward to. But for others, retirement can pose many challenges and they find it difficult to adjust to their new role and circumstances. A report for the Department for Work and Pensions, on attitudes to extending working lives, finds that approximately 25% of retirees experience difficulties resulting in adverse psychosocial outcomes. Although many older workers in the UK expect they will be working for longer, 38% said that they are looking forward to retiring, whereas just 13% said they are not.
Moreover, 11% of retirees report that ‘they did not really want to retire but felt they had to or were expected to’. Clearly, there are a range of attitudes towards, and experiences of, the retirement transition.
The nature of retirement is itself undergoing a period of transition. Governments in many countries have enacted policies to encourage people to work until later in life. Alongside a general increase in labour market participation amongst older workers, we are also witnessing the emergence of new forms of working in later life, such as partial retirement, bridge jobs and un-retirement. These new ways of working and retiring present a range of challenges and opportunities for older workers. Therefore, to ensure that everybody can enjoy a good later life, we need to better understand what factors can impact on people’s adjustment to retirement.
The purpose of this rapid evidence review is to synthesise the existing research on the experience of the retirement transitions to better understand how best to help individuals navigate this transition. This information is crucial if key groups in society, such as policymakers, employers, advocacy groups, retirees and those preparing for retirement are to act to address these issues. We were tasked with answering two research questions:
1. What are people’s attitudes towards their upcoming retirement and what determines any variation in outlook?
2. What are people’s experiences of the period post-retirement and what determines any variation in those experiences?
We are thus interested in the experience of retiring, extending from the anticipation of retirement through to the end of the adjustment to retirement. We are not concerned here with the longer-term state of being retired which could equate to later life more generally
Chapter 1. Background
Chapter 2. Methods
Chapter 3. Gender
Chapter 4. Socioeconomic position
Chapter 5. Ethnic and cultural factors
Chapter 6. Family situation
Chapter 7. Health
Chapter 8. Attitudes to ageing
Chapter 9. Work characteristics and occupation
Chapter 10. Preparedness and control