Almost half of the Welsh workforce says they won’t be able to afford to retire

Almost half of the Welsh workforce says they won’t be able to afford to retire when they reach State Pension Age - 48% of the workforce in Wales aged 40-64 say they will not have enough money to retire when they reach state pension age.

Workers in Wales are increasingly planning to work into their late 60s and beyond, with 50% saying they would do so to afford their desired lifestyle in retirement, according to YouGov research for the charity Age Cymru.

43% who believe they will be working past state pension age plan to continue working in their current job with the same hours, while 20% intend to reduce their hours. Not having enough money was the most common reason to continue working. Others included enjoying the social side of working (20%), and worrying they would get bored or lonely at home (24%).

But many are concerned about their health or fitness to continue working. Of those who expect to stop working or to reduce their hours before their late 60s, almost one in four (24%) say their job is too physically demanding to continue working into their late 60s, while 21% expect their health won’t be good enough.

Age discrimination could also have an impact on people’s ability to continue working or change roles. More than one in four adults aged 40 to 64 (26%) has felt disadvantaged or treated negatively when at work or applying for jobs past the age of 40.

A check in at 50

More than half (53%) are interested in the idea of a Career MOT at 50, including in-depth career and retirement planning advice.

Age Cymru and Business in the Community (BITC) Cymru are calling for action to help people plan their later working lives and explore how they can put enough money aside for the future while there’s still time to make a difference.

Society is ageing. According to the Office for National Statistics, in Wales, the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 292,000 (44%) between 2014 and 2039. But whilst people are living almost a decade longer than their grandparents, people today are leaving the labour market earlier than in 1950. 

As well as those having planned and set aside to retire early, there are a lot of people exiting the labour market before ideally they would choose. In many cases they may not have sufficient income for their future to sustain the lifestyle they would have envisaged.

Age @ Work

Age Cymru and BITC Cymru have formed a partnership to support older workers and employers through the Age @ Work campaign. There are almost one million people aged 50-64 in the UK who are not working but state that they are willing to work. Age @ Work aims to support older workers in Wales to remain in work or return to work in order to help them have enough income, stay connected and have a fuller working life.

Earlier this year the Welsh Government launched a campaign seeking to challenge stereotypes, demonstrate the value of a multigenerational workforce and encourage employers to continually invest in skills throughout their employees’ working lives; Age Cymru believes this positive action should be underpinned with the offer of a career MOT for everyone at age 50, giving people time to make plans for the smoothest possible transition to retirement.

Matt Appleby, Director, Business in the Community Cymru said: “The ageing population is one of the biggest challenges that Wales will face going forward. As the voice of the responsible business community, BITC Cymru are delighted to be working with Age Cymru on the Age @ Work campaign.  We want fewer people retiring involuntarily before pension age and more people in good, decent work beyond pension age. We hope that by raising awareness of these issues and by supporting employers and employees that we can bring about real change in the perceptions of older workers and embrace the real opportunity of multi-generational workplaces.”

Alongside in-depth career and retirement planning advice, the new research shows many people are also keen to receive guidance on how they can boost their savings. Consideration of their pension/savings provision topped the wish-list of things to include in the MOT.

This included:

  • A consideration of their pension/savings provision to help them save enough for their retirement – 48%
  • A discussion about what job(s) they might want to do for the rest of their working lives – 50%
  • An assessment of their transferable skills and experience – 48%
  • Support in planning their ideal retirement – 38%
  • The impact of their health on future working prospects – 44%
  • Identifying any skills they may need in the future and options for training – 42%
  • A discussion about different types of flexible working and how to raise that with their employer – 41%

Case Study – Wales & West Utilities

Steve (56 and pictured above) started his career as an apprentice in 1977 and has been working at the front line of the company’s operations as a Gas Emergency Service Manager for the last eight years. He manages a team of 17 emergency gas engineers across South East Wales.

Steve is an essential member of the Wales & West Utilities (WWU) team and brings a huge amount of knowledge from forty years in the industry to bear on the work carried out by the company in 2017.

Although more likely to use a smartphone than a spanner to make sure Welsh homes and businesses are safe and warm, Steve and his colleagues are continuing to pass on his experience to the managers of the future.

Sarah Hopkins, the company’s People & Engagement Director said: “Our people are at the heart of everything we do. From responding to gas emergencies to preparing our network to meet future challenges, without our people we wouldn’t be able to deliver the levels of service our customers expect.

“With changing career expectations, we’re committed to helping our colleagues work as long as they wish to. From more flexible working time to taking a mentoring role with apprentices and other younger colleagues, our multigenerational workforce is a key strength – the experience our older colleagues bring to bear on the challenges we face every day means our customers receive a better, more value for money service.”

If you would like to find out more about Age @ Work, please contact cymru@bitc.org.uk