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Annie Hayes

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Retirement age hikes ripple across the globe

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The age of retirement is rising across the world as governments react to increased longevity.

HR consultancy Mercer looked at normal retirement ages (NRA) across 47 countries and found that the twin pressures of increasing social security costs and lower mortality rates are driving changes in retirement provision.

In Austria, the retirement age for women will be gradually raised from 60 to 65 between 2024 and 2033. In Belgium, from 2009, the NRA for women will be raised from 64 to 65.

Retirement ages for men and women in the Czech Republic have been increasing by two months and four months respectively every year since 1996. Denmark will increase the NRA age for men and women from 65 to 67 between 2024 and 2027, and Germany is raising the retirement age for both sexes from 65 to 67 between 2012 and 2029.

Yvonne Sonsino, head of Mercer’s international retirement business in the UK, said that Western Europe is in a particularly difficult position, with an aging workforce and a history of generous social security provision.

“Passing pension legislation faces the enormous challenge of politicians seeking to retain the support of their voters. Recent strikes and disturbances in France have highlighted the sensitivities involved but also underline the seriousness of the issue.”

In Asia-Pacific, the news is similar. In Australia, by 2014, the minimum qualifying age for women will be increased from 60-65 (according to date of birth) to a standard 65, making it the same for men and women. Japan is gradually increasing the retirement age from 60 to 65.

In Latin America, Colombia’s NRA will increase in 2014 from 60 to 62 for men and from 55 to 60 for women. In Canada, there is a move for the majority of provinces to eliminate mandatory retirement ages. There has been no recent change in Brazil and the United States.

Sonsino added: “With the unprecedented pace of population ageing worldwide, and the impact it has on public expenditure, the governments of countries with a retirement age lower than 65 – particularly China which has a rapidly ageing population and the world’s largest number of elderly people – will be under growing pressure to reform public pension policies in the near future.”

In the UK, a common state pension age of 65 will be fully implemented before 2020. This will be gradually increased between 2024 and 2046 to 68 for men and women.

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Annie Hayes

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