Recently, a good number of researchers have been looking more into the topic of retirement and the rising number of older Americans continuing to work and staying as an integral part of the workforce, but not as much as they should regarding the feasibility and sustainability issues brought about by this fact.
Fortunately, the research from The Lancet Public Health journal obtained in 2002-2013 from over 15,000 men and women who are 50 and over might have some answers. According to the research, an average 50-year-old worker can be presumed healthy and fit to work for about nine more years., before retirement
What makes this factor significant? Well, in most countries, the healthy working life expectancy of 50 years old is below the age required to be qualified for State Pension and a sustainable retirement plan. So, older workers who are from middle to lower socioeconomic statuses would be dependent on government actions to improve healthcare, work environments, and employment opportunities to help them prolong their healthy working life expectancy. So, if we are to expect the older demographic to continue being a part of our workforce, monitoring of healthy work-life expectancy should be done regularly to ensure the success of such an approach.
In order to determine the average number of years that employees spend healthy and working (before considering retirement), the researchers matched The ELSA mortality reports with documents sanctioned by The United Kingdom National Health Service (UK NHS).
This comparison presented a couple of important factors, particularly sex, needs, health situation, and neighborhood. Men can expect to be healthy and in employment for roughly 10 years as opposed to women who can only expect 8.3 years from the age of 50.
This result was also influenced by requiring allocations. On a scale, the number of years employees who were deemed healthy and fit for work was shorter amongst those who are employed for manual jobs versus non-manual workers. Again, because the expected healthy working life of 50 years old or younger is below the qualified age for most State Pension age requirements in most countries, we have deduced that more and more people will find it challenging to work as the pension requirement age goes up. While everyone lives their lives differently, for most developing countries, this can be a huge contributing factor to aggravate poverty. In the United Kingdom, State Pension age is moving up from 65 to 66 in October of this year. On top of that, news about it increasing again to 67 by 2028 is also circulating.
The healthy work-life expectancy was also four and a half years shorter in the North-Eastern part of England compared to the Southern East. Those under poverty-stricken regions revealed the shortest healthy working lives which is more than six and a half years lower, out of all the participants analyzed.
Of course, the most telling factor for work-life expectancy is health status. Participants in the research who were healthy and working at 50 were able to keep on working for an average of 11 years compared to unhealthy counterparts.
The participants who were already unhealthy at 50 but continued working were only able to do so for an average of 8 more years. And just for comparison, those who are healthy and not working were still able to have a healthy work-life expectancy for six more years. While for those who are both unhealthy and unemployed at 50 were only expected to have three more healthy work-life years.
The head researcher of this study concluded that poor health and a scarcity of suitable employment opportunities are the major factors for early retirement, absence from work due to sickness, and compromised work productivity. Older workers, particularly those in manual and hard labor-intensive jobs shall be the ones in mind when thinking about reasons to proactively improve health services and workplace environments.