Working into sixties more likely

09 February 2004
The number of employers that are raising their retirement age is making it increasingly likely that people will have to work into their sixties.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the UK's top trade body for personnel managers, has produced a survey that suggests that 15 per cent of employers have set back their retirement ages in the past two years. And the trend looks set to speed up, with 17 per cent planning to do so over the next two years.

In the majority of cases, changes mean that somebody who retires at 60 will receive less in their pension.

Cutting back pension schemes is an attractive option for the private sector where firms are looking to cut costs.

Brian Freake, pensions expert at the UK's largest private sector union, Amicus, said: "Raising the retirement age is an extremely unpopular move. We are keen to maintain the right to retire at 60 and earlier because that's what our members demand."

The widespread jump in retirement age seems to confirm the fears of union leaders that private companies are taking a lead from the government, which is considering setting a "default" retirement age at 70 after it has finished its age discrimination legislation later on this year.

Campaigners are afraid employers might use this as a reason to pay workers a lower pension if they retire before 70.