New workforce discovered: the 'Un-retireds'

Article date: 9 December 2002

Over one in five retired people return to work

Retirement may be the goal we all work towards throughout ourworking lives – but more than one in five retired people havesubsequently ‘un-retired’ and gone back to some form ofwork, according to new research issued today.

The ‘Un-retireds’ - people who retire and then latergo back to full-time, part-time, voluntary or seasonal work - areidentified in the new study by Norwich Union.

More than one in five (22 per cent) of retired people over 50have gone back to some form of employment, with the figure as highas a third (34 per cent) in the 65-74 age bracket. Of those whohaven’t gone back to work, 22 per cent are considering doingso.

Reasons for returning to employment include a desire for humaninteraction, keeping active and giving something back into thecommunity – although only four per cent return to workbecause they need the money.

And the research suggests that most retired people have littledifficulty finding employment– well over half (59 per cent)who have gone back to work say they had ‘noproblems’.

Other findings of the Norwich Union survey include:

  • 12 per cent said they became ‘un-retired’ becausethey wanted to keep active
  • 11 per cent wanted to give something back to society, 11 percent missed daily interaction and a similar number were bored
  • Women are three times more likely to miss the feeling of dailyinteraction than men

Ian Beggs, of Norwich Union, said: “Some people findending their working life a positive experience, particularly ifthey are emotionally or financially ready for it, or if they have achoice. But for others, the impact of giving up work for good is areal blow, especially if they have been forced into retirement orare financially less able.

“The feelings generated from retirement range fromfreedom, release and ‘the great escape’, to a sense ofloss, no longer feeling like a contributor, and in some cases aloss of self- esteem.

“Of those people who have chosen to go back to some formof work, most have done so out of choice rather than necessity. Itwill be interesting to see whether people retiring 30 years fromnow find themselves in the same position.”

When it comes to the type of jobs that the un-retired prefer, 38per cent of women, and 29 per cent of men, work part- time.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) have done voluntary work, althoughit is three times more likely to be women.

Around one in five (18 per cent) of the un-retireds found workthrough their previous employer, although twice as many women (24per cent) did this than men (10 per cent). And while 13 per cent ofthe un-retireds used the job centre or local newspaper to reviewadvertised jobs, 34 per cent of people actually found work throughfriends or relatives.

Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of over-50s are against acompulsory retirement age - while almost a third (30 per cent) arefirmly in favour. Men (37 per cent) feel more strongly about havinga compulsory retirement age than women (25 per cent).

Media contacts:

Jo Misson or Liz Fay at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or Ian Beggs at theNorwich Union Life press office on 08703 66 68 71/07790 487533

Weekend Contacts:
Jo Carr: 07776 137141
Jo Misson: 07887 777731
Liz Fay: 07885 965966

Full summary of findings and case studies available onrequest.

  • Research was carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres, who surveyed777 retired people nationwide, aged 50 and over, during October2002.
  • In October this year, the Government announced it is reviewingthe standard retirement age of 65 for men and 60 for women.Secretary of State for Work & Pensions Andrew Smith toldLabour's annual party conference in Blackpool that the Governmentwanted to ‘move away’ from the idea of a fixed age atwhich people must stop working. Source: BBC Online(
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For all life and pensions media enquiries call 08703 66 6873.
For all other media enquiries call 08703 66 68 68.

Norwich Union Life Services Limited represents only the NorwichUnion Marketing Group, members of which are regulated by theFinancial Services Authority, for life assurance, pensions andinvestments. Members of the Aviva group

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