Information for HW seminar – 26 March 2014 in Esmee Fairbairn Lecture Theatre (EF26) (12.15pm – please bring your lunch!)
Wendy Loretto Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the University of Edinburgh Business School
Reinventing retirement: is it all about work?
Across industrialised nations demographic changes have prompted a raft of policies focused on extending working lives to accommodate primarily the economic, but also the social, costs of ageing populations. This policy focus is summed up in the title of the OECD’s eponymous publication: Live Longer, Work Longer (OECD, 2006).  Government interventions, local labour market demands, together with individual preferences, have led to a ‘loosening’ of retirement, with the traditional model of ‘cliff-edge’ retirement becoming increasingly less relevant. Instead of working full-time up to employer or state retirement ages and then ceasing paid work completely, more people, particularly in their later lives, are engaging in some form of phased retirement, e.g. taking on bridge jobs, becoming self-employed and even ‘un-retiring’ (for an overview, see Loretto and Vickerstaff, 2013). This ‘redefining’ or ‘reinvention’ of retirement (Maestas, 2010) has thus far focused mainly on paid work.
The presentation starts from the premise that this is too narrow a lens to capture the heterogeneity of older workers’ expectations, preferences and behaviours. Significantly, by ignoring other forms of ‘work’ such as volunteering or unpaid care, the current focus serves to marginalise the position of older women. The presentation will draw upon a recent survey of 1500 over-50s in GB, and on other research conducted by the presenter, to examine what retirement means to individuals and the extent to which they are reinventing it.
Wendy Loretto is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the University of Edinburgh Business School. Hermain research field is age and employment, with a particular focus on changes in employees’ and employers’ attitudes and practices in extending working lives. She is especially interested in the ways in which gender and age interact to affect work and retirement experiences amongst older men and women. Current projects include case study investigation of transitions from paid work to retirement (ESRC/MRC Life-long Health and Well-being Programme). This project links to her second research area – employee well-being at work. She is Co-I on an ESRC seminar series examining Employee Well-being in the 21st Century.

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