Recent research by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA),in collaboration with the Age Endeavour Fellowship,(a charity) undertook a comparison between people of retirement age who have actually retired and those who carried on working in some way.
The results demonstrated that those who were retired had a drastic decline in their health – an increase in depression by 40% and physical illness by 60% in both men and women.
The research has identified that lack of mobility and loneliness are key factors. Understandably so but in my view the key is about Human NEEDS
When people are at work they have others to talk to, things to do and they feel valued, needed, wanted then suddenly virtually overnight they feel unwanted, have no structure in their lives and find it hard to adjust. The world that they knew for all their working lives is carrying on without them! They feel abandoned and useless, unwanted and unneeded and having worked up until the day they retired, were unable to plan ahead effectively, either emotionally or financially.
Those who carry on working after “retirement age” are earning and filling their time – but are they taking the jobs away from our young people?
Latest data shows 25% of 21-year-olds who left university with a degree in 2011 were unemployed compared with 26% of 16-year-olds with GCSEs (The Guardian 2012)
“Unemployment reaches 2.56 million as another 20,000 under-25s add their names to the register” (The Guardian April 2013)
Young people do not feel needed either and a report by the Prince’s Trust shows that 48 per cent of young people aged 16 to 25 not in work claim that being jobless has triggered problems such as self-harm and insomnia.
The 2010 Macquarie youth index study showed that the longer they don’t have a job, the more damaging the impact on their mental and physical health. Young people are twice as likely to self-harm or suffer panic attacks after a year of unemployment.
So what is the answer? The over sixties who are still in full time work who are of an age to claim their state pension could consider reducing their hours by degree whilst training up a young person to their job. In effect it becomes a Job Share between old and young. This way both generations feel valued, needed and worthwhile. There could be a gradual handover from one to the other, in a way that is timed right for both parties to feel comfortable with the choices they are making.
Of course this would need to factor in qualifications and training for the young people and retirement planning/coping with change for the older generation.
Employers would get the best of both worlds – experience and young blood for the future.
In an era where we can match people for dating, why not for jobs? It’s about far more than finding a job – it’s about self respect, self esteem and self responsibility – at all ages.