Workers’ health starts to fail at the age of 59 as a study reveals the nation’s divide with those in the Northeast more likely to fall ill before retirement age

  • Employees at 50 can expect to only see an average of nine more in-shape years
  • However, the pension age is currently 65 and will rise to 66 in October 2020  
  • The Keele University study anaylsed data from 15,000 men and women over 50
  • Self-employed fared better than average as they can usually avoid manual labour

A typical worker’s health will give out well before they reach the pension age of 65, research suggests.

Employees who turn 50 can expect only an average of nine more years in good shape. Yet the pension age is now 65 and will rise to 66 in October.

The study’s lead author, Marty Parker, said that older workers would find it increasingly challenging to hold on to their jobs. 

A study undertaken at Keele University suggests that employees who turn 50 can expect only an average of nine more years in good shape (stock image)

‘Healthy working life expectancy from age 50 is below the remaining years to state pension age,’ said the academic from Keele University. 

‘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.

‘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.’

In November 2018, the state pension age became 65 for all, but this is gradually increasing and now depends on your date of birth.

Those born after April 6, 1978, will have to wait until they are 68.

The Keele study, which is published in The Lancet Public Health, analysed data from 15,000 men and women aged 50 and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and tracked them between 2002 and 2013.

The authors made estimates of ‘healthy working life expectancy’ and found that gender, wealth and location were factors.

In November 2018, the state pension age became 65 for all, but this is gradually increasing and now depends on your date of birth. Those born after April 6, 1978, will have to wait until they are 68 (stock image) 

From the age of 50, men can expect to be healthy and remain in work longer than women – for 10.9 years compared with 8.3 years.

The self-employed fared better than average because they can usually avoid manual labour.

The North East had the worst rate of healthy working life expectancy – three years lower than the South East.

The researchers called for a variety of interventions from Government and bosses to help employees extend their working lives.

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