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'I'd rather keep running to the end and then jump off the cliff.' Retirement decisions: who decides?

By Sarah Vickerstaff


Government in the UK, as elsewhere in Europe, is keen to encourage individuals to delay their retirement, work for longer and save more for their retirement. This article argues that much of this public discussion is based on the debatable premise that most people are actively choosing to leave work ‘early’. Research on retirement decisions hitherto has concentrated on individual factors, which dispose towards early retirement and has neglected the role of the employer in determining retirement timing. New research reported here, undertaken in three organisational case studies, explores the management of retirement and how individual employees experience these processes. It employs the concepts of the ‘retirement zone’ and retirement scenarios to demonstrate how the interaction of individual attributes (themselves subject to change) and organisational practices (also unpredictable and variable) produces retirement outcomes. It concludes that there is considerable management discretion over the manner and timing of individual retirements. Hence, government needs to recognise that the majority of individuals may have relatively little personal discretion over their departure from work and hence concentration on urging them to work for longer and delay retiring may be missing the real target for policy change

Topics: H
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2006
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