Typography

After 40-odd years of working for The Man, one would think that it’s about time to put your feet up for some well-deserved rest.

However a recent article in The Telegraph in Britain claimed that one in 20 men over 50 in the UK now counts themselves as part of a new class of the “unretired”. That’s right, no need to shuffle about the house in their jogging pants anymore – these men have had their fill of sleeping in and spending their days casually strolling around the golf course. Having tried retirement they simply decided it was not for them and simply went back to work.

Furthermore, after retirement legislation in the UK was altered back in 2011, employers now cannot give their employees the flick once they have reached retirement age. Without a compulsory retirement age, this has had a knock on affect to retirement numbers, with the number of unretired (or “unretirable”) set to increase in future as a result. The article outlines that one very common reason for going back to work is that people are short of cash. However, alongside this, it is also noted how people’s identity is so closely tied to their place of employment, and thus severing ties with their lifelong vocation proves a tricky prospect.

“Men in particular tend to identify closely with their career, more so than women,” the article quotes Christopher Brooks, policy adviser on employment at skills at Age UK. “One very common reason for going back to work is that people need the money, but also a lot of people simply enjoy the identification of the workplace, so when they stop working they miss it and want to go back to work.

Across the pond, some studies in the US have estimated that the “unretirement rate” over there is as high as 22 per cent due to a range of differing cultural and financial arrangements. But hang on a minute, for those who don’t have to worry about money, haven’t these people heard of hobbies? Surely there are other ways to spend one’s time than keeping one’s nose to the grindstone!

Nonetheless, given that the retirement age here in Finland is set to go up to 65, and will no doubt keep creeping up as our increased life expectancy continues to grow, it may be some time before Finns in future need to worry about whether they need to unretire in future.

James O’Sullivan