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Pension figures: early retirement coming later in life

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Pension figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that people are waiting until later in life before taking early retirement.

According to the ONS, the average age at which male and female workers withdraw from the labour force is rising. In 2006, it was 64.2 years for men, the highest level since 1984, when data first became available. The average age for women was 61.8 years, the second-highest on record.

Correspondingly, employment rates of older men and women rose in spring 2006
to the highest levels since comparable records began in 1984.

For men aged from 50 to under 65 (men’s state pension age), the employment rate was 72.6 per cent and for women aged from 50 to under 60 (women’s state pension age), it was 67.9 per cent. For men over state pension age, the employment rate was 9.6 per cent and for women, 11.1 per cent.

Membership of employer-sponsored defined benefit schemes fell from 39 per cent of employees in 2005 to 35 per cent in 2006. In 1997, when records began, the figure was 46 per cent.

However, membership of defined contribution schemes increased from 10 to 15 per cent of the working-age population between 1997 and 2005, driven by increases in membership of group personal and stakeholder pensions which more than offset a fall in membership of occupational money purchase schemes from 9 to 7 per cent.

Of the 24.8 million employees in 2005, 49 per cent of men and 47 per cent of women were members of their employer’s pension scheme, compared with 51 and 46 per cent respectively in 2004.

Among full-time employees, 53 per cent of men and 56 per cent of women were members, compared with 55 and 56 per cent respectively in 2004.

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