Nearly half of women (44%) aged 50-65 said they planned to either continue to work their existing hours (13%) or work with reduced hours (31%) after they reach state pension age, according to new analysis from Rest Less, a digital community and advocate for people aged over 50. Nearly one in five (17%) of women aged 50-65 said they didn’t know yet what they would do when they reached the state pension age.

Rest Less analysed qualitative data from the Office of National Statistics which was issued in September 2022. In the study, 34% of women aged 50-65 said the age at which they planned to retire from all paid work had changed in the two years prior to September 2022 and that they now expected to stay in paid work for longer.

The data also showed how working people aged 50-65 were intending to fund their retirement. Whilst the state pension was the most common means for both men and women, the results show a stark contrast in future financial security between the sexes (Table 1). Significantly fewer women were planning to rely on a private pension (78% men vs 68% of women) and women were more than twice as likely (18% vs 7%) to rely on financial support from their partner than men.

Table 1: Which of the following are you planning to use to fund your retirement or your time out of work?

 State Pension84%82%
 A private pension78%68%
 My savings or investments47%40%
 I may need to rely on some paid work27%30%
 Receiving financial support from my partner7%18%

Source: Over 50s Lifestyle Study Wave 2, Great Britain: 10 to 29 August 2022 – Reasons workers aged 50 years and over left and returned to work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Great Britain, Wave 2

The ONS study also asked respondents how confident they felt about their retirement provision meeting their needs, with one in three women (34%) saying they felt somewhat unconfident or not at all confident compared with 28% of men. In contrast, 39% of women felt very or fairly confident about their retirement provisions meeting their needs, compared with 47% of men.

Stuart Lewis, Chief Executive of Rest Less, commented: “Years of gender based earnings disparity has resulted in a large pension savings gap between men and women, leaving many women in their 50s and 60s in real financial precarity. Nearly half of women aged 50-65 said they plan to continue working in some capacity after reaching state pension age – a number that is likely to have risen even further given the subsequent cost of living crisis.

‘Women can also find it more difficult to return to work after a period of unemployment or inactivity. They are far more likely to have taken time out to care for children, parents or a relative than their male counterparts, which puts them at a natural disadvantage.

‘In the last recession of 2009, women could retire at 60 and receive the state pension; today it is 66. Many women aged 50-65 are stuck between a rock and a hard place – they struggle to find work due to age discrimination or a lack of flexible work opportunities but they are too young to claim their state pension putting them in a vulnerable financial position as they approach retirement. Whilst the state pension age for men and women may now be equal, this data shows that the retirement fortunes of men and women remain anything but equal.”

Case study:

Kerry Eves is 57 in July and lives on the Suffolk/Norfolk border with her husband and seven dogs. Until 2022, Kerry spent the last 40 years working in a variety of roles from Business Development to Project Management within the insurance sector.

She became disillusioned with the service levels in the sector which plummeted during and post Covid and coupled with suffering from side effects of the menopause (primarily brain fog) decided she’d had enough of the workplace and took early retirement.

She left her role in September 2022 and found retirement to be the ultimate shock to her system. Having never not worked full-time in her 40 year career, she tried to keep herself as busy as possible with chores in the house and garden. Then she entered what she calls the ‘lazing about on the sofa’ phase! She’d walk her dogs in the morning and spend the rest of the day watching TV. She admits she really struggled to find balance. In the meantime, having always been savvy with her personal finances, Kerry has been increasingly mindful of the rising cost of living – her fixed rate electricity bills will move to a variable rate in September for example. Kerry says that she’s not ready to do nothing and faced with increasing bills in the future, she’s decided to go back to work. She plans to look for a new job to start in September/October after her dogs compete in multiple agility competitions over the summer. She’d love to find part-time, flexible work and doesn’t foresee a second retirement anytime soon.


Notes to Editors
*Rest Less reviewed data from the ONS which was issued in September 2022 entitled: Over 50s Lifestyle Study Wave 2, Great Britain: 10 to 29 August 2022 – Reasons workers aged 50 years and over left and returned to work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Great Britain, Wave 2

For media enquiries, please contact:
Aisling Gray
Head of Communications
Phone: 07900996065
Email: [email protected]

About Rest Less
Rest Less ( launched in early 2019 and is a digital community for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Rest Less is on a mission to help its members get more out of life and offers content guidance and resources on topics spanning Jobs and Careers, Volunteering, Learning, Money, Health and Lifestyle and Dating.