Only a third of workers think that they will work until they are over 65 and just one in ten believes they will still be working in their 70s, according to research by Croner, the UK’s leading provider of workplace information and consultancy services, part of Wolters Kluwer.

The survey, which questioned almost 1,400 UK working adults, found that 22% see themselves working until 60 or younger and 44% until 65.

The findings are a surprise given the Conservative Party’s announcement that it would raise the state retirement age to 66 for men and 63 for women by 2016, and recent suggestions from the Institute of Directors and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) that the pension age should be raised to 70.

Gillian Dowling, employment technical consultant at Croner, says: “There are definite signs that the retirement age is going to increase but, as our research shows, people are still unsure of what to expect and are not preparing to work past 65. As further Government consultation on the national default retirement age is only set to start next year, this will remain an area of uncertainty for both employers and employees for some time.”

Men are more likely to think they will work past 65, with 38% saying this compared to just 31% of women. Those under 25 see themselves working longer than any other age group (40%) and this number decreases with age until rising again with the over 55s, (38%), suggesting that the attraction of retirement decreases as the time draws closer.

For those who see themselves working longer, the top reason for doing this is financial concerns (68%) followed by enjoyment of work (41%) and changes to the law (39%). Also important are keeping busy (38%) and living longer (27%).

While there are financial and social benefits to working longer, some of the respondents felt that those over 65 do become less capable with over a quarter (27%) saying this is an issue. This rose to 35% among the under 25s, while only 19% of the over 55s felt this is the case.

The research also looked at age discrimination and found that one in five respondents (19%) has been discriminated against because of their age. Of these the majority (12%) stated their youth was the problem, with 8% saying they were unfairly treated for being too old.

While the issue of age discrimination hasn’t gone away, it would appear that the legislation introduced in 2006 has made some impact as in 2005, CIPD figures showed that 59% of people had been discriminated against in this way, showing there has been a drop of over a third.

“Age discrimination is still a risk for all employers but these figures from our research show that employers have started to take on board the full impact of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.” said Gillian Dowling. “Given the likely changes to the retirement age and the public’s view of older workers, it will be even more important in the future for employers to maintain non-discriminatory practices.”

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