Skip to main content
×
Home

Returns to work after retirement: a prospective study of unretirement in the United Kingdom

  • LORETTA G. PLATTS (a1) (a2), LAURIE M. CORNA (a2), DIANA WORTS (a3), PEGGY MCDONOUGH (a3), DEBORA PRICE (a2) (a4) and KAREN GLASER (a2)...
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Despite the complexity of the retirement process, most research treats it as an abrupt and one-way transition. Our study takes a different approach by examining retirement reversals (unretirement) and their predictors. Using the British Household Panel Survey (1991–2008), and following participants into Understanding Society (2010–2015), we undertake a survival analysis to investigate retirement reversals among Britons aged 50–69 years who were born in 1920–1959 (N = 2,046). Unretirement was defined as: (a) reporting being retired and subsequently recommencing paid employment, or (b) beginning full-time work following partial retirement (the latter defined here as reporting being retired and working fewer than 30 hours per week). A cumulative proportion of around 25 per cent of participants experienced a retirement reversal after reporting being retired; about half of these reversals occurred within the first five years of retirement. Unretirement was more common for participants who were male, more educated, in better health, owned a house with a mortgage (compared to owning it outright) and whose partner was in paid work. However, unretirement rates were not higher for participants in greater financial need, whether measured as subjective assessment of finances or household income quintiles. These results suggest that unretirement is a strategy more often used by those who are already advantaged and that it has the potential to exacerbate income inequalities in later life.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Returns to work after retirement: a prospective study of unretirement in the United Kingdom
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Returns to work after retirement: a prospective study of unretirement in the United Kingdom
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Returns to work after retirement: a prospective study of unretirement in the United Kingdom
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Loretta Platts, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden E-mail: loretta.platts@su.se
References
Hide All
Arber S. and Ginn J. 2004. Ageing and gender: diversity and change. Social Trends, 34, 114.
Atchley R. C. 1982. Retirement as a social institution. Annual Review of Sociology, 8, 263–87.
Beehr T. A. and Bennett M. M. 2015. Working after retirement: features of bridge employment and research directions. Work, Aging and Retirement, 1, 1, 112–28.
Business in the Community, International Longevity Centre and The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (BIC, ILC-UK and PRIME) 2014. The Missing Million: Illuminating the Employment Challenges of the Over 50s. Business in the Community, London.
Business in the Community, International Longevity Centre and The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (BIC, ILC-UK and PRIME) 2015. The Missing Million: Pathways Back into Employment. Business in the Community, London.
Cahill K. E., Giandrea M. D. and Quinn J. F. 2015. Retirement patterns and the macroeconomy, 1992–2010: the prevalence and determinants of bridge jobs, phased retirement, and reentry among three recent cohorts of older Americans. The Gerontologist, 55, 3, 384403.
Carr D. C. and Kail B. L. 2013. The influence of unpaid work on the transition out of full-time paid work. The Gerontologist, 53, 1, 92101.
Chandler D. and Tetlow G. 2014. Retirement in the 21st century. IFS Report R98, Institute for Fiscal Studies, London.
Cleves M. A., Gould W. W., Gutierrez R. G. and Marchenko Y. 2010. An Introduction to Survival Analysis Using Stata. Third edition, Stata Press, College Station, Texas.
Congdon-Hohman J. M. 2009. Three essays in labor and public economics. PhD thesis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Corna L. M., Platts L. G., Worts D., Price D., McDonough P., Sacker A., Di Gessa G. and Glaser K. 2016. A Sequence Analysis Approach to Modelling the Work and Family Histories of Older Adults in the UK. King's College London, London.
Dahl S.-Å., Nilsen Ø. A. and Vaage K. 2003. Gender differences in early retirement behaviour. European Sociological Review, 19, 2, 179–98.
Dingemans E. 2016. Working after retirement: determinants and consequences of bridge employment. PhD thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Disney R. and Smith S. 2002. The labour supply effect of the abolition of the earnings rule for older workers in the United Kingdom. Economic Journal, 112, 478, C136.
Eurofound 2012. Income from Work After Retirement in the EU. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
Fasbender U., Wang M., Voltmer J.-B. and Deller J. 2016. The meaning of work for post-retirement employment decisions. Work, Aging and Retirement, 2, 1, 1223.
Finch N. 2014. Why are women more likely than men to extend paid work? The impact of work–family life history. European Journal of Ageing, 11, 1, 31–9.
Gonzales E. and Nowell W. B. 2016. Social capital and unretirement: exploring the bonding, bridging, and linking aspects of social relationships. Research on Aging. Published online: August 23 2016.
Goode W. J. 1960. A theory of role strain. American Sociological Review, 25, 4, 483–96.
Griffin B. and Hesketh B. 2008. Post-retirement work: the individual determinants of paid and volunteer work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 81, 1, 101–21.
Han S.-K. and Moen P. 1999. Clocking out: temporal patterning of retirement. American Journal of Sociology, 105, 1, 191236.
Hardy M. A. 1991. Employment after retirement: who gets back in? Research on Aging, 13, 3, 267–88.
Hayward M. D., Hardy M. A. and Liu M.-C. 1994. Work after retirement – the experiences of older men in the United States. Social Science Research, 23, 1, 82107.
Jappelli T. and Modigliani F. 2005. The age-saving profile and the life-cycle hypothesis. In Franco F. (ed.), The Collected Papers of Franco Modigliani. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 141–72.
Jonsson H. and Andersson L. 1999. Attitudes to work and retirement: generalization or diversity? Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 6, 1, 2935.
Jonsson H., Josephsson S. and Kielhofner G. 2000. Evolving narratives in the course of retirement: a longitudinal study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 54, 5, 463–70.
Kail B. L. 2012. Coverage or costs: the role of health insurance in labor market reentry among early retirees. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67B, 1, 113–20.
Kail B. L. and Warner D. F. 2013. Leaving retirement: age-graded relative risks of transitioning back to work or dying. Population Research and Policy Review, 32, 2, 159–82.
Kanabar R. 2015. Post-retirement labour supply in England. Journal of the Economics of Ageing, 6, 123–32.
Kohli M. and Rein M. 1991. The changing balance of work and retirement. In Kohli M., Rein M., Guillemard A.-M. and van Gunsteren H. (eds), Time for Retirement: Comparative Studies of Early Exit from the Labor Force. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 135.
Lahey K. E., Kim D. and Newman M. L. 2006. Full retirement? An examination of factors that influence the decision to return to work. Financial Services Review, 15, 1, 119.
Lain D. 2011. Helping the poorest help themselves? Encouraging employment past 65 in England and the USA. Journal of Social Policy, 40, 3, 493512.
Lain D. 2015. Work beyond age 65 in England and the USA. In Scherger S. (ed.), Paid Work Beyond Pension Age: Comparative Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, 3156.
Larsen M. and Pedersen P. J. 2013. To work, to retire – or both? Labor market activity after 60. IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, 2, 1, 21.
Levy H. and Jenkins S. 2012. Documentation for derived current and annual net household income variables, BHPS waves 1–18. UK Data Archive Study 3909, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Colchester, UK.
Lin E. Y. 2005. Health insurance coverage and reemployment outcomes among older displaced workers. Contemporary Economic Policy, 23, 4, 529–44.
Loretto W. and Vickerstaff S. 2013. The domestic and gendered context for retirement. Human Relations, 66, 1, 6586.
Macnicol J. 2015. Neoliberalising Old Age. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Maestas N. 2010. Back to work: expectations and realizations of work after retirement. Journal of Human Resources, 45, 3, 718–48.
McDonald L. 1997. The link between social research and social policy outcomes: reverse retirement as a case in point. Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 16, supplement, 90113.
Meghir C. and Whitehouse E. 1997. Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK. Journal of Econometrics, 79, 2, 327–54.
Moffatt S. and Heaven B. 2016. ‘Planning for uncertainty’: narratives on retirement transition experiences. Ageing & Society. 37, 5, 879–98.
Muthén B. O. and Muthén L. K. 2012. Mplus 7 Base Program. Muthén & Muthén, Los Angeles.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development n.d. What Are Equivalence Scales? OECD Project on Income Distribution and Poverty. Available online at http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/OECD-Note-EquivalenceScales.pdf [Accessed 7 August 2015].
O'Rand A. M. and Henretta J. C. 1999. Age and Inequality: Diverse Pathways Through Later Life. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.
Pattani S., Constantinovici N. and Williams S. 2004. Predictors of re-employment and quality of life in NHS staff one year after early retirement because of ill health; a national prospective study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61, 7, 572–6.
Pettersson J. 2014. Instead of bowling alone? Unretirement of pensioners in Sweden. International Journal of Manpower, 35, 7, 1016–37.
Pleau R. L. 2010. Gender differences in postretirement employment. Research on Aging, 32, 3, 267303.
Schellenberg G., Turcotte M. and Ram B. 2005. Post-retirement employment. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 6, 9, 1417.
Scherger S. 2015. Introduction: paid work beyond pension age – causes, contexts, consequences. In Scherger S. (ed.), Paid Work Beyond Pension Age: Comparative Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, 127.
Schuring M., Robroek S. J. W., Otten F. W. J., Arts C. H. and Burdorf A. 2013. The effect of ill health and socioeconomic status on labor force exit and re-employment: a prospective study with ten years follow-up in the Netherlands. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 39, 2, 134–43.
Sieber S. D. 1974. Toward a theory of role accumulation. American Sociological Review, 39, 4, 567–78.
Singer J. D. and Willett J. B. 2003. Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis: Modeling Change and Event Occurrence. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Taylor P. 2008. Sing if you're glad to be grey. Working towards a happier older age in the United Kingdom. In Taylor P. (ed), Ageing Labour Forces: Promises and Prospects. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, 84110.
Thurley D. 2011. Pension age: occupational and private pensions. Standard Note SN/05847, House of Commons Library, London.
University of Essex, Institute for Social and Economic Research and National Centre for Social Research 2010. British Household Panel Survey: Waves 1–18, 1991–2009 [computer file]. SN: 5151, seventh edition, UK Data Service, Colchester, UK.
University of Essex, Institute for Social and Economic Research, NatCen Social Research and Kantar Public 2016. Understanding Society: Waves 1–6, 2009–2015 [computer file]. SN: 6614, eighth edition, UK Data Service, Colchester, UK.
Warner D. F., Hayward M. D. and Hardy M. A. 2010. The retirement life course in America at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Population Research and Policy Review, 29, 6, 893919.
Westerlund H., Kivimäki M., Singh-Manoux A., Melchior M., Ferrie J. E., Pentti J., Jokela M., Leineweber C., Goldberg M., Zins M. and Vahtera J. 2009. Self-rated health before and after retirement in France (GAZEL): a cohort study. The Lancet, 374, 9705, 1889–96.
Westerlund H., Vahtera J., Ferrie J. E., Singh-Manoux A., Pentti J., Melchior M., Leineweber C., Jokela M., Siegrist J., Goldberg M., Zins M. and Kivimäki M. 2010. Effect of retirement on major chronic conditions and fatigue: the French GAZEL occupational cohort study. British Medical Journal, 341, c6149.
Whitehouse E. 1990. The abolition of the pensions ‘earnings rule’. Fiscal Studies, 11, 3, 5570.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary Materials

Platts Supplementary Material
Appendix

 Word (37 KB)
37 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 39
Total number of PDF views: 182 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 614 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 31st October 2017 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.