How long should people work? Workers in UK don't stay healthy for that long – Innovita Research

How long should people work? Workers in UK don't stay healthy for that long

Everyone is aging – time is not choosing its victims. You start of young and beautiful and energized, but eventually your body and mind start falling behind and you have to retire. But when would be an appropriate time to retire? Scientists from the Newcastle University say that 50 year olds can expect to be healthy and at work for 9 more years.

People in UK can expect to stay healthy and at work till about 59 years of age. Image credit: Mark Stevenson via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

The age of retirement actually has little to no bearing on the realities of aging. It is determined by politicians – they select the age in order to suit their social policies. This means that in many countries the age of retirement is actually moving ahead, because as societies age there are less and less people who can work and pay taxes to support those who are retired.

But in the perfect world we would retire to preserve our lifespan and health to have somewhat decent last part of the journey. Scientists now analysed data from 15,284 men and women aged 50 and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. They followed these people and their working conditions to see how long can they expect to be healthy and at work. They found that men can be healthy and at work for 10.9 years, while for women this time is a little shorter – 8.3 years. As this study was completed in UK, scientists found some regional differences as well.

Professor Carol Jagger, author of the study, said: “The regional differences in healthy working life expectancy at age 50 are particularly stark with over three years difference between the North East, with the lowest healthy working life expectancy, and the South East with the highest”. This meant that older people from North East face more trouble working for longer.

And so we should retire at the age of 59? Well, yes and no. It always depends on individual’s health, lifestyle and work. People who work in manual labour typically wear themselves out a bit sooner. On the other hand, workers who also take good care of themselves can expect to be healthy for longer. However, this research reveals that for many people it is going to be hard to work till the new age of retirement. In UK it is set to increase from 65 to 66 for men and women in October this year, and it will increase even further to 67 by 2028. Even though this study was conducted in UK, it is likely that this situation is forming in other Western countries too.

We don’t really choose when we retire. Our health starts failing and/or the government says that we are allowed to stop working. We can, however, choose our lifestyle. Forming some good habits now can give you at least a couple of good, healthy years later down the line. On the other hand, politicians have to start thinking, how can we stop increasing the age of retirement, because there is no good from tired and unhealthy workers.


Source: Newcastle University