Should 'Bridging' Jobs Be Available Before Retirement?

Posted by Nicole Williams on 14 February 2017

Employers should support older workers to ‘wind-down’ into retirement with reduced hours or less responsibility to avoid poor wellbeing, according to a new international study.

The study, that looked at all existing research, showed part time work towards the end of our careers improves life satisfaction.

However, the research does highlight that this depends on whether employees had control over when they retired, rather than being forced out due to ill health or restructuring. If people take up these jobs through force, their wellbeing tends to drop, it states.

The study also found that; the way we retire makes a lot of difference to our mental health, leaving a more satisfying job decreases your life satisfaction on retirement, men struggle more with retirement if their partners are still working and also that those who are satisfied with their home life and support networks fare better.

Nancy Hey, director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, which commissioned the research by the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Reading and Sheffield, said: “Good work is really important for our overall life satisfaction and how we retire matters. When we’ve gone around the UK asking what quality of life looks like, the importance of wellbeing at work consistently comes up.

“Policy needs to reflect the changing patterns and ways of working, and how that impacts how, why and when we retire. A sudden shift from employed to retired isn’t working.”

Mark Bryan, Reader in Economics at University of Sheffield and co-author of the study, commented: “The evidence on wellbeing points to the importance of giving people control over their retirement decision – both through support for people who wish to stay in work and decent pension provision for those who wish to retire.”