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Life expectancy to rise to 100

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As life expectancy continues to rise the impact on employers is likely to be significant

Employers will need to reconsider their retirement options as life expectancy continues to rise, according to Ben Wilmott, head of public policy for the CIPD.

Using cohort life expectancy (which builds in an allowance for future improvements and therefore shows higher projections than period life expectancy), the Office for National Statistics has projected that female babies born in 2064 in England will live for 100 years. For males the figure is slightly lower at 97.6 years.

Across the UK as a whole the projections are also slightly lower, at 99.8 years for women and 97.4 years for men.

Wilmott explained that this will result in many more employees experiencing a ‘sandwich carer’ situation where they are both raising their own children and caring for their parents, and even possibly their grandparents.

“Organisations will need to adjust to the needs of a more flexible workforce,” he told HR magazine. “People may not want a retirement that involves stopping work fully, so employers will need to find ways to enable that.

“There’s also an issue surrounding how we train and look after employees during different stages of their working lives,” he added. “There will need to be an increased focus on employee wellbeing and resilience, not just for the worker's sake, but for the business to keep their talent for longer, benefitting both.”

Tom McPhail, head of pensions research for Hargreaves Lansdown, said the figures show that the government will need to reconsider how the state pension is provided.

“The figures mean investors reaching retirement today should typically expect to have to make their retirement savings last until their late eighties. However, for many people in good health a retirement extending well into their nineties will be the norm,” he said. “By the time today’s 40-year-olds reach their mid-sixties living to 90 will be unremarkable, and anyone in good health will stand a fair chance of reaching 100.

“The inevitable consequence of this trend is that the state pension age will have to rise faster, sooner. Given the mess recent governments made over current state pension age increases, the sooner this problem is addressed and communicated to everyone affected the better,” he added.