Returns to work after retirement: a prospective study of unretirement in the United Kingdom

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Ageing and Society

Authors

Loretta G. Platts, Laurie M. Corna, Diana Worts, Peggy McDonough, Debora Price and Karen Glaser

Publication date

Summary

Despite the complexity of the retirement process, most research treats it as an abrupt and one-way transition. Our study takes a different approach by examining retirement reversals (unretirement) and their predictors. Using the British Household Panel Survey (1991–2008), and following participants into Understanding Society (2010–2015), we undertake a survival analysis to investigate retirement reversals among Britons aged 50–69 years who were born in 1920–1959 (N = 2,046). Unretirement was defined as: (a) reporting being retired and subsequently recommencing paid employment, or (b) beginning full-time work following partial retirement (the latter defined here as reporting being retired and working fewer than 30 hours per week). A cumulative proportion of around 25 per cent of participants experienced a retirement reversal after reporting being retired; about half of these reversals occurred within the first five years of retirement. Unretirement was more common for participants who were male, more educated, in better health, owned a house with a mortgage (compared to owning it outright) and whose partner was in paid work. However, unretirement rates were not higher for participants in greater financial need, whether measured as subjective assessment of finances or household income quintiles. These results suggest that unretirement is a strategy more often used by those who are already advantaged and that it has the potential to exacerbate income inequalities in later life.

Volume and page numbers

39, 439-464

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0144686x17000885

ISSN

16

Subjects

Older People, Labour Market, Economics and Life Course Analysis

Links

Notes

Not held in Hilary Doughty Research Library - bibliographic reference only; Is referenced by: Hamilton, C. (2018) Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study – Written evidence (IFP0021) [House of Lords Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision]. London: Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords. Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision.

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