There’s been a lot of research conducted lately about older Americans continuing to work into their golden years, but not nearly as much in respect to how long it’s feasible to do so.
New research published in The Lancet Public Health journal derived from the 15,284 men and women aged 50 and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) between 2002-2013 might have an answer.
According to the data, a 50-year-old worker can expect to be healthy and to continue working for approximately nine more years.
“Healthy working life expectancy at age 50 years in England is below the remaining years to State Pension age. Older workers of lower socioeconomic status and in particular regions in England might benefit from proactive approaches to improve health, workplace environments, and job opportunities to improve their healthy working life expectancy,” the authors wrote in the new paper. “Continued monitoring of healthy working life expectancy would provide further examination of the success of such approaches and that of policies to extend working lives.”
In order to approximate the average number of years people spend healthy and employed, the authors paired The ELSA mortality reports with records authorized by The United Kingdom National Health Service.
This paring introduced several relevant factors, namely sex, deprivation, health status and region. From the age of 50, men can expect to be healthy and in work for about 10.9 years compared to the 8.3 years observed among female participants.
This outcome was similarly influenced by demanding allocations. On balance, the number of years people were healthy and working was shorter among those who work manual jobs compared to non-manual labor by one year.
“Healthy working life expectancy from age 50 is below the remaining years to State Pension age. While everyone’s lives are different, our results suggest that many people will find it challenging to work for longer as the State Pension age goes up,” the authors wrote in a media release.
State Pension age in the UK is going up from 65 to 66 for men and women in October 2020, and is said to increase again to 67 by the year 2028.
Tealthy working life expectancy was additionally 4.5 years shorter for those living in the North East of England compared to the South East. Those living in impoverished areas expressed the shortest healthy working lives (6.8 years on average from age 50) of all the demographics analyzed.
Of course, the most educative correlate of work-life-expectancy was health status.
Participants who were healthy and working at age 50 were able to continue doing so work for an additional eleven years longer compared to unhealthy quinquagenarians.
People who are unhealthy but continue working at age 50 return to being healthy and in work for eight more years, and those who are healthy and not working at age 50 have a healthy working life expectancy of about six years. Healthy working life expectancy was only three years for people who are unhealthy and not working at age 50.
“Poor health and a lack of appropriate job opportunities are a major reason for early retirement, sickness absence from work, and reduced productivity while at work. Older workers – especially those in more deprived areas and in manual jobs – will benefit from proactive approaches to improve health and workplace environments,” concluded Marty Parker, who is the study’s lead Author from Keele University’s School of Primary, Community.
Research on the theoretical practicality of working past retirement age is limited in the US, but the new paper conducted by a team of researchers from Keele University in unison with Newcastle University provided a critical base for further analysis.