Unskilled workers live in retirement for longer, but that's not a great thing – Innovita Research

Unskilled workers live in retirement for longer, but that's not a great thing

Many people are looking forward to their retirement. You have so much spare time once you stop working and can finally dedicate yourself to the things you love doing the most. But did you know that the time you spend retired actually differs if you earn more or less? Scientists from UCL conducted a study and found that lowest-paid workers have longest retirements, but suffer from ill health after stopping work much more often.

Manual labour is not always good for your health long-term. People of these kind of professions tend to retire earlier and do not enjoy a healthy retirement. Image credit: Kirk Philipps via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Scientists analyzed data from 76,485 people in England and Wales, collected in 2001 and 2011. Participants were already not very young – they were aged between 50 and 75 in 2001. Naturally, some people died during the next ten years – 14.6 % of the women and 25.1% of the men had passed away. Scientists took a closer look at the time of death in relation to retirement. They also divided participants into six social classes based on information they gave in the 2001 survey about occupation: professional, managerial/technical, skilled non-manual, skilled manual, partly skilled, and unskilled.

The study showed that unskilled workers lived the longest after retiring, while professional workers had the shortest retirements on average. However, this was not a positive thing by any means. Simply put, unskilled workers had to retire earlier, usually because of poor health. On average, unskilled workers lived shorter and their health at the final stages of life was much worse. However, because they retired earlier, they stay retired for longer, while often suffering from ill health and even worse financial situation.

But is there any solution to that? Well, not really. Except that scientists suggest that retirement age could be different according to place in socioeconomic strata. Professor Jenny Head, co-author of the study, said: “We believe a pension age that is two years earlier may be better for individuals who work in manual occupations, given that they are often forced to leave work early”. Scientists also suggest taking into account the fact that unskilled workers who are paid smaller wages typically start working earlier, because they are not getting lengthy education. But what could be advised to people in this situation?

First of all, watch your health. Try eating healthy and pay attention to the signs that your body is sending. Secondly, do not consider your job or socioeconomic situation permanent. Find opportunities to educate yourself, be better, earn more and have a job that pays well, is good for your health and is enjoyable. Finally, do think about your retirement. It is going to come and you have to be ready for it.


Source: UCL