People are working longer than they used to. The average age at which people leave the labour market - a proxy for average age of retirement - rose from 63.8 years to 64.6 years for men and from 61.2 years to 62.3 years for women between 2004 and 2010.
This average summarises information about the ages at which people stop working, which differ for different people. For men, the peak ages for leaving the labour market are 64 to 66 years. For women, the peak ages are 59 to 62 years. Thus, labour market exits peak around State Pension Age for both sexes. However, many people retire before State Pension Age and others work beyond it.
A larger proportion of men than of women take early retirement: 8.2 per cent of women in the 55 to State Pension Age group were classified as retired in April-June 2011, compared with 20.4 per cent of men aged 60 to State Pension Age.
The majority of people below State Pension Age who are in employment do full-time work, but the transition to retirement involves a move to part-time employment. In April-June 2011, 7.3 per cent of men of State Pension Age and over worked part-time, while 4.6 per cent worked full-time; 8.9 per cent of women of State Pension Age and over worked part-time, while 3.6 per cent worked full-time.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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