One in five UK employees still pressured to retire by their employers

  • One in five (20pc) retirees have been forced out of their job by their employers
  • Nearly half of Brits (48pc) retire before the minimum legal requirement
  • Employers could face £45m collective compensation bill for age-related discrimination claims

Forced into retirement

Research from AXA’s international retirement scope survey reveals that three in five (60pc) British retirees retired before the minimum legal age of 65. Whilst most did so through choice (80pc), one in five (20pc) experienced pressure from their employer. However, on the up side the survey does show that age discrimination legislation is beginning to have an effect, albeit a slow one, with the number who have been forced into early retirement by their employer falling since 2006 (28pc).

Steve Folkard, head of pensions and savings policy at AXA commented: "Despite legislation making it unlawful to discriminate against workers on the grounds of age, our study clearly shows that some employees are still being coerced into early retirement; meaning employers could be leaving themselves dangerously exposed to litigation.

"Employees coming up for retirement need to be aware of their legal rights and exercise these if necessary. Employers should also review their retirement policies and decision making processes to make sure they are protected against both future and retrospective claims. The cost of a successful claim can be significant and will be even higher when legal costs and damage to reputation are taken into account."

Brits’ attitude to retirement

The research also shows that Brits are more likely to retire early through choice (48pc) compared to the international average (36pc). This is almost double the numbers that retired early in both France (23pc) and India (25pc). Workers in Canada (73pc) and America (56pc) were the most likely to have retired early.

In addition, around half of those still working (47pc) and those retired (49pc) do not approve of raising the minimum age of retirement. However, since the study was last conducted in 2006, there has been an increase from 19pc to 27pc amongst retirees in favour of increasing the minimum age of retirement. This compares starkly with Japan and Hong Kong, where 70pc and 71pc of workers respectively approve of raising the retirement age.

British attitudes towards working post-retirement were mixed, with over half (51pc) of all workers expecting to work in retirement. However, the study shows that only one in ten (11per cent) take up a second job in retirement.

Steve Folkard continued: "The results suggest that Brits are reluctant to see the age of retirement raised, and a significant number have already retired early. It is interesting to note how many people think they will continue to work but subsequently do not; perhaps once they hit retirement they decide they want to make the most of their "golden years".