Reconstructing Work and Retirement: Changing Pathways and Inequalities in Later Life

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Abstract

This chapter provides a critical perspective on the reconstruction of work and retirement, as developed through the policy of extending working life. The chapter examines how the idea of extended working lives has been supported by a narrative that disregards concerns about the impact of a ‘shorter retirement’ on groups such as women and blue-collar workers, laying emphasis on older workers as a healthier (and wealthier) group with access to a variety of options for managing the end of working life. The analysis developed suggests that the move to extend working life has run parallel with the emergence of precarious forms of work, with these having major consequences for particular groups such as women and blue-collar workers. The chapter plays particular attention to new forms of insecurity arising from technological changes in the workplace, and the implications of these for supporting longer working lives. The discussion concludes with proposal for reform which could alleviate precarious working translating into precarious forms of retirement. The ideas discussed include: interventions which address inequalities in the workplace; implementing differentiated pathways to retirement; providing enhanced support for women juggling work and care responsibilities; and re-assessing the value of the term ‘older worker’.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Subtitle of host publicationEconomic Inequality and Later Life
EditorsJessica A Kelley
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer London
Chapter1
Pages1-21
Number of pages21
Volume40
ISBN (Electronic)9780826143334
ISBN (Print)9780826143334
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020