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Over a million UK workers don’t plan on retiring

New research conducted by Opinium on behalf of Canada Life has revealed that 6% of the UK’s workforce – equating to over a million people – believes they will never retire.

The same research also found that 44% of working-age adults in the UK – approximately 17.1 million people overall – think they will work beyond their state pension age. While this is a significant number, it’s actually down from almost 20 million the year before. So has the Covid-19 pandemic forced a rethink among UK workers, or are there other reasons for this trend?

Retirement is a source of worry for many Brits

When looking towards retirement and making decisions about later life, many people are, perhaps unsurprisingly, driven by worry.

Canada Life’s research found that:

  • 34% of UK workers were worried that working beyond the state pension age would negatively affect their ability to enjoy old age.
  • 33% were worried their health would deteriorate because of a need to keep working.
  • 27% said they either needed or wanted to work but were worried their health would prevent them from doing so.

However, these understandable health and financial concerns were balanced out by people who were happy to continue working.

Further results from Canada Life’s research included:

  • 23% of people said they planned to continue working because they enjoyed the routine of doing so.
  • 21% of people said they enjoyed their job and wanted to continue working.

While these statistics paint a fascinating figure of the UK employment and retirement landscape, they’re also likely to raise further alarm among those concerned that people working for longer will ultimately harm younger generations’ job prospects.

Why else are people planning to continue working?

As you might expect, not everyone who plans to continue working later in life wants to do so because of the enjoyment of it.

Canada Life found that among those who plan or expect to have to work beyond their state retirement age:

  • 43% think their pension won’t be enough for them to fully retire.
  • 22% are unsure how long their pension savings will last.
  • 10% think they’re adequately prepared for retirement but that their current lifestyle is too expensive for them to retire.

If these statistics are going to significantly change in the future, it seems there will need to be a profound change in how people contribute to their pensions, or on their lifestyle expectations post-retirement!


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