Policy reform can sometimes act as a catalyst for research. Studying the far-reaching implications of new approaches is profoundly important. No more so than when considering changes relating to age-related retirement – a topic which will affect us all.
A key finding of our rethinking retirement research is that abolishing mandatory retirement helps the poorest least, because of health and educational barriers to work. Nevertheless, the research suggests that older people in the UK will have increased opportunities to work. Not only has our research in this area been widely published in journals, books and broadsheet newspapers, but we have presented our findings, including the implications for policy and the management of retirement transitions, to a number of key audiences.
As a result of his research in this area, Dr David Lain was the invited presenter at the private policy debate ‘Working longer: an EU perspective’, in Brussels at the European Economic and Social Committee of the European Parliament and at the ‘Expert Workshop on Income from Work after Retirement', at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Brussels. He presented to European Commission officials, EU and US researchers, and to groups representing older people, trade unions and businesses.
Through our Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Rethinking Retirement Series, we brought together around 150 people from academia, business, trade unions, policy making, service delivery, NGOs and the general public to consider the changing context of retirement.
We strive to ensure that our research in this area helps policymakers take decisions to ensure fairer futures.