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OP27 Work-related factors that influence retirement decisions in the UK: the health and employment after fifty factors influencing retirement study (HEAF FIRST)
  1. Martin Stevens1,2,
  2. Mary Barker1,
  3. Stefania D’Angelo1,2,
  4. Elaine Dennison1,
  5. E Clare Harris1,2,
  6. Cathy Linaker1,2,
  7. Holly Syddall1,2,
  8. Karen Walker-Bone1,2
  1. 1MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Versus Arthritis/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK


Background Population demographics are changing due to increased longevity and declining birth rates, precipitating a demand to encourage people to work to older ages. Whilst legislative changes have enabled this, little is currently known about factors which employers could influence within workplaces to encourage later working. We investigated the role of work-related factors in retirement decisions in the UK, utilising the Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) prospective cohort study.

Methods The HEAF cohort was incepted in 2013–14 using the sampling frame of 24 GP surgeries across England. People aged 50–64 years at baseline completed annual questionnaires about health, work and retirement plans. HEAF FIRST involves mixed-methods research starting with qualitative interviews and a systematic review preceding and informing the design of a nested case-control study. A questionnaire was designed to investigate the role of work-related factors on retirement status. Questionnaires were sent to people who were employed at baseline but self-reported retirement by 2018 (cases) and people who were working at baseline and remained employed in 2018, matched on age +/- 2 years and sex. Those who retired mainly for health reasons were excluded. The relationship between work-related factors and retirement was investigated using logistic regression models adjusted for age and sex (matching factors), finances, marital, and socio-economic status.

Results Questionnaires were posted to 570 cases and 570 controls. In total, responses were received from 488 retirees and 448 current workers. On average, retirees (61% women) were one-year older, financially better off and of higher socio-economic position than workers (62% women). Retirees had retired at mean age 61.6 years, 64% pre-State Pension Age (SPA), 11% at SPA (+/-6 months) and 25% post-SPA. The following work factors were associated with increased odds of retirement (all results adjusted for factors detailed above): effort reward imbalance, (OR 1.43, 95%CI 1.26,1.63), less flexibility (OR 1.25, 95%CI 1.10,1.42), constant availability (OR 1.30 95%CI 1.14,1.49) work-life conflict (OR 1.35 95%CI 1.18,1.55) high demand/low control (OR 2.00, 95%CI 1.33,3.01).

Discussion Our results suggest that work-related factors play an important role in retirement. People who are working in jobs which offer flexibility, are rewarding, minimise conflict with home life and offer autonomy are more likely to report working to older ages. The work-related factors identified can be utilised to inform employer-based interventions to encourage people to work to older ages.

  • Ageing Work Retirement

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