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Employers and the management of retirement

By Sarah Vickerstaff, Jennie Cox and Linda Keen


In the UK early withdrawal from the labour market is seen as a risk and a cost, worsening the\ud dependency ratio, raising public and private pension costs and threatening additional welfare\ud expenditure over the longer term. Explanations of the retirement process have focused on the welfare\ud state and the impact of pensions and other social security policies. This paper argues that a\ud missing actor in these accounts is the employing organization. Early retirement in the UK has\ud been predominantly driven by the labour requirements of employers rather than state policies to\ud encourage older workers to take early retirement. There is a case for arguing that significant change\ud in retirement behaviour in the UK will come primarily from the modification of employers’ policies.\ud This research is a case study of three employers: one public-sector and two commercial. It examines\ud the dynamics of the retirement decision. This paper reports the public-sector case. The findings\ud indicate that employers, in order to reduce their pensions liabilities and stem the cost of early\ud retirement, are trying to regain control of the retirement process. The employees interviewed felt\ud they experienced little choice concerning their retirement, had limited knowledge of the options open\ud to them and found pensions complicated and confusing

Topics: H
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Year: 2003
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