'A third' of UK workers put off retirement due to COVID-19

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Close up of a senior businesswoman using a tablet in the office
New research found that 5% of people who weren’t looking to retire in the next three to five years now will, with a third of these (32%) having lost their jobs and can’t find new ones. Photo: Getty

Lockdowns and stresses in the labour market have led to people in the UK contemplating later retirements, with 35% of people polled who were planning to take retirement in the next three to five years now saying they won’t.

That’s according to a survey by jobs website Totaljobs, which also found that 60% of people who are shifting their retirement goalposts say it’s because they can’t afford to retire earlier.

The survey of 5,000 UK workers also found that 5% of people who weren’t looking to retire in the next three to five years now will, with a third of these (32%) having lost their jobs and can’t find new ones.

The research also showed that a huge majority — 89% — of people are currently looking for a job. Alongside the unemployed, 84% of those currently in employment say they are applying for new roles as well.

More than three quarters (77%) of respondents started looking for a role in December and a further one in 10 (11%) have said they’ll start looking this month.

Over a third (36%) are looking for a fresh start and 10% of respondents want a change of location. Of those, over half (52%) are looking to relocate within the UK, perhaps owing to the increased flexibility afforded by remote working.

The survey also showed that Brexit is a driver of job hunts in Britain, with 24% looking for work within the EU.

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The turbulent twelve months workers have just endured continues to play heavily on people’s minds as they enter 2021, with 66% stating they continue to fear for their job security.

The majority (57%) of people think it will take them up to three months to find a new job and over a quarter (26%) feel it’s likely they will become unemployed in 2021.

Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs, said: “Over the past year, we’ve seen workers setting new standards for their employment conditions. The rise of remote working has seen candidates move around the country or even relocate outside the UK to find work.

“The coming months will reveal how much more of an impact the pandemic and Brexit will have on people’s attitudes towards their jobs, their location and their employment terms.”

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