Male workers who have reached the age of 50 in England can expect to be healthy in work for longer than women.
A new study suggests that “healthy working life expectancy” from the age of 50 means that men can look forward to 10.9 healthy years in work – compared to 8.3 years for women.
The research found that, on average, workers who reach 50 can expect an average of nine more healthy years while working – falling six years below the State Pension age.
As the State Pension age rises, an older workforce may struggle with health issues, according to the study.
Lead author Marty Parker said that people will find it “challenging” to work for longer.
The State Pension age was 65 in November 2018, but has been increasing gradually and now depends on when you were born.
People who were born after April 6, 1978 have a State Pension age of 68.
The study which has been published in The Lancet Public Health, analysed data from 15,000 men and women aged 50 and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Keele University led the research which tracked participants between 2002 and 2013.
The authors set out to assess workers’ “healthy working life expectancy” from when they were aged 50.
Differences in healthy working life expectancy were found by sex, deprivation and geographical location.
Those who are self-employed people have longer healthy work life expectancy, as can those who do not do manual labour.
Those in the North East of the country had a healthy working life expectancy three years lower, on average, compared to people in the South East.
The authors conclude: “Adults aged 50 years in England have an average healthy working life expectancy lower than the number of years to the State Pension age.”
The authors called for a variety of interventions to help people extend their “healthy working lives”.
Mr Parker, from Keele University’s School of Primary, Community and Social Care, said: “Healthy working life expectancy from age 50 is below the remaining years to State Pension age.
“While everyone’s lives are different, our results suggest that many people will find it challenging to work for longer as the State Pension age goes up.
“Poor health and a lack of appropriate job opportunities are a major reason for early retirement, sickness absence from work, and reduced productivity while at work.
“Older workers – especially those in more deprived areas and in manual jobs – will benefit from proactive approaches to improve health and workplace environments.”