Retirement age starting to creep up

The average age at which employees retire is beginning to rise, new figures indicate.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that the average age at which men leave work climbed from 63.8 years in 2004 to 64.5 years in 2009.

There was a similar increase for women, with the average retirement age rising from 61.2 to 62 years during the same period.

All the figures suggest that the trend towards later retirement will continue.

The state pension age for women is set to reach 65 by 2018 and then to rise further to 66 by 2020 for both genders.

The Government has already announced its intention to abolish the default retirement age of 65 by 1 October this year.

Despite the recession, the percentage of people extending their working lives beyond the state retirement age has remained on an upward curve.

But two-thirds of those who stayed in employment after the age of 65 took part-time rather than full-time jobs.

The employment rate for men aged 65 or over rose from 10.7 per cent in second quarter of 2008 to 11.7 per cent in final quarter of last year. The rate for women aged 60 or over increased from 12.3 per cent to 13.5 per cent.

Joanne Segars, of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), commented: "These trends indicate that working past the state pension age is increasingly becoming part of our way of thinking.

"For many working longer is a must because they have not built up enough funds to be able to retire."