New research has found that around one in four British retirees return to paid work or “unretire”, mostly within five years of retiring. Men are more likely to unretire than women, as are people in good health, who are better educated and who are still paying off a mortgage. People who report having financial problems before retiring are not more likely than others to unretire, perhaps because they find it difficult to get another job or because of the poor quality of the jobs available to them. After ten years, a retiree’s chances of returning to paid work are low.


The lead author of the study, Dr Loretta Platts, based at the Stress Research Institute, carried out the research as part of the WHERL consortium at King’s College London. The team of researchers used data from the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2008) and Understanding Society (2010-2015) to examine levels of retirement reversal, or unretirement. Unretirement was defined as reporting being retired and subsequently recommencing paid employment, or beginning full-time work following a partial retirement.


Dr Loretta Platts said, We found that it is common for people to go back to paid work after retiring and that people from all walks of life are doing this. Paid working can enable people to supplement their pensions, to stay active and to maintain their social networks. However, the fact that people who are more educated and in better health are more likely to unretire suggests that it may be difficult for people in financial difficulties to find suitable paid work. This may be generating inequalities in income in later life.


More about the study in The Times >>>

More about the study in The Sun >>>