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Published on 27 October 2017 09:00 AM

Age Scotland calls for ‘career MOT at 50’ for all to help people adjust future plans & pension savings

Forty-three per cent of Scots aged 40-64* – estimated to be more than 786,000 people – say they will not have enough money to retire when they reach state pension age.

Scots are increasingly planning to continue to work into their late 60s and beyond, with 44 per cent saying they would do so to afford their desired lifestyle in retirement, according to YouGov research for the charity Age Scotland and Business in the Community (BITC).

More than a third (36 per cent) who believe they will be working past state pension age plan to continue working in their current job with the same hours, while 25 per cent intend to reduce their hours

Not having enough money was the most common reason to continue working. Others included enjoying the social side of working (22 per cent), and worrying they would get bored or lonely at home (19 per cent).

But many are concerned about their health or fitness to continue working. Of all those who expect to stop working or to reduce their hours before their late 60s, almost one in four (24 per cent) say their job is too physically demanding to continue working into their late 60s, while 18 per cent expect their health won’t be good enough.

Age discrimination could also have an impact on people’s ability to continue working or change roles. Almost one in four adults aged 40 to 64 (24 per cent) has felt disadvantaged or treated negatively when at work or applying for jobs past the age of 40.

More than half (51 per cent) are interested in the idea of a Career MOT at 50, including in-depth career and retirement planning advice.

Age Scotland is calling for government action to help people plan their later working lives and explore how they can put enough money aside for the future while there’s still time to make a difference.

A recent report by the Scottish Government, with the University of Edinburgh Business School, highlighted the benefits of mid-career reviews, to prevent a “downward trajectory for employees after the age of fifty”.

Successful government-sponsored pilots took place in 2013-15 and the Charity believes the career MOT should now be offered to everyone at age 50, so that people have time to make plans and put them into action in order to create the smoothest possible transition to retiring.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s worrying that retirement seems increasingly unaffordable for a growing number of Scots. While there are various reasons people choose to keep working, money concerns are the main factor forcing them to work into their late 60s and beyond. At the same time, many feel they will need to reduce their hours or switch to a less physically demanding job.

“Of course many people choose to stay on at work because they enjoy the social side or want to share their skills. Yet instead of an ageing workforce being seen as a valuable asset, too many older workers continue to face negative perceptions or age discrimination.

“There is a growing need for more guidance to help people plan their future working life and prepare ahead for retirement. We’re pleased that most Scots support our plan for a ‘career MOT at 50’ to enable them to make informed choices about training, pension provision and future career options.

“As the State Pension age increases, working longer is set to become part of life. We’re urging the Scottish Government to continue to invest in our older workers, tackle barriers to working, and offer mid-career guidance to everyone who requires it.”

Alan Thornburrow, Director of BITC Scotland, said “As part of BITC’s commitment to increasing diversity in the workforce, we are delighted to be working with Age Scotland to address the issues around an ageing workforce. With an ageing population, business needs to take action now to prevent early exit from the workforce, support later life working and make the most of intergenerational workplaces.”

Alongside in-depth career and retirement planning advice, the new research shows many people are also keen to receive guidance on how they can boost their savings. Consideration of their pension/savings provision topped the wish-list of things to include in the MOT. This included:

•    A consideration of their pension/savings provision to help them save enough for their retirement – 49%
•    A discussion about what job(s) they might want to do for the rest of their working lives – 49%
•    An assessment of their transferable skills and experience – 48%
•    Support in planning their ideal retirement – 42%
•    The impact of their health on future working prospects – 42%
•    Identifying any skills they may need in the future and options for training – 39%
•    A discussion about different types of flexible working and how to raise that with their employer – 38%

A report by Age UK, Age Scotland’s sister charity, looks at a variety of potential delivery models, including the National Careers Service, current employers and pension schemes among others.

Age Scotland is urging the Scottish and UK Governments to:

•    Commit to creating an MOT at 50 for all, and extend the Mid-Life Career Review pilots to this end
•    Link this initiative closely with future implementation of the Scottish Government’s ”Fair Work” programme and the UK Government’s “Fuller Working Lives” agenda
•    Ensure the Pensions Dashboard – an online service being developed by HM Treasury and the pensions industry – plays a useful role within the career MOT at age 50, helping people to gain a better understanding of their retirement finances and options.

Age Scotland and Business in the Community (BITC) Scotland are working together to support older workers and employers to tackle the key issue through the Age@Work campaign.  There are almost one million people aged 50-64 in the UK who are not working but state that they are willing and would like to work.  Age@Work aims to support employers and older workers in Scotland as they adapt to support an ageing workforce – through better retention of older workers, increased recruitment of older workers and better succession planning. This will allow employees and employers to maximise benefits of knowledge and experience, economic and social benefits for the individuals, business and society.

Age Scotland publishes a number of free guides to help people plan for their retirement. To order a free copy of any of Age Scotland’s guides, or for further information and advice on any issue, people can call free of charge on 0800 12 44 222.

For more information: Please contact Hazel Mollison, Media & PR Officer on 0333 32 32 400