Research Article: The decision to work after state pension age and how it affects quality of life: evidence from a 6-year English panel study

Date Published: May 10, 2018

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Author(s): Giorgio Di Gessa, Laurie Corna, Debora Price, Karen Glaser.


despite an increasing proportion of older people working beyond State Pension Age (SPA), little is known about neither the motivations for this decision nor whether, and to what extent, working beyond SPA affects quality of life (QoL).

QoL was measured using the CASP-19 scale. Respondents in paid work beyond SPA were distinguished based on whether they reported financial constraints as the main reason for continuing in work. Linear regression models were used to assess the associations between paid work beyond SPA and CASP-19 scores among men aged 65–74 and women aged 60–69 (n = 2,502) cross-sectionally and over time using Wave 4 and Wave 7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

approximately, one in five respondents were in paid work beyond SPA, one-third of whom reported financial issues as the main reason. These individuals reported significantly lower CASP-19 scores (β = −1.21) compared with those who retired at the expected/usual age. Respondents who declared being in paid work beyond SPA because they enjoyed their work or wanted to remain active, reported significantly higher QoL (β = 1.62). Longitudinal analyses suggest that those who were working post-SPA by choice, but who had stopped working at follow-up, also reported marginally (P < 0.10) higher CASP-19 scores. potential QoL benefits of working beyond SPA need to be considered in light of individual motivations for extending working life. Given the trend towards working longer and the abolishment of mandatory retirement ages, it is important that older people maintain control over their decision to work in later life.

Partial Text

In addressing the challenges posed by population ageing, governments continue to implement policy changes designed to extend working lives, including raising the state pension age (SPA) [1, 2], which has led to increasing ages at retirement [3]. Although labour market participation rates of older people are increasing [4], little is known about the reasons why some people work beyond SPA and whether, and to what extent, these affect their well-being.

In response to policy initiatives to extend working lives, an increasing percentage of people continue to work past SPA. We found that the motivations underpinning the decision to continue working past SPA exert an influence on QoL, similar to that found for retirement [6, 25, 26]. Those who continue to work for positive reasons (about two-thirds of workers) report the highest levels of QoL, similar to the levels reported by respondents with no long-standing illness. These workers also experience marginal improvements in QoL when they eventually leave the labour market, most likely because they have control over this transition. In contrast, those who continue working beyond SPA out of financial necessity (one third of workers) report a CASP-19 score of about 4 points lower at baseline, and this level does not rebound upon eventual retirement.




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