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European workers would trade money for an early retirement
A third of European workers unhappy with government policy to raise retirement age in their country
Employers grappling with issues around aging workforce

 

London, 26 April 2010 – The lure of retirement is simply too much for many Europeans with almost one in three workers (29%) saying they would prefer their government not to raise the national retirement age, and would be happy to have less income in retirement, according to Aon Consulting, the leading employee risk and benefits management firm.

This research is part of the Aon Consulting European Employee Benefits Benchmark which surveyed 7,279 workers across Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, 10 of the leading economies in Europe.

The Benchmark revealed that 46% of Irish workers, the most of any European nation surveyed, say they never really expected to retire at 65 and expected to be working longer than their parents. This is closely followed by the British and Danish (44%) and the Dutch (41%).

Many governments around the world have raised, or are in the process of raising, the minimum retirement age in their country to help pay for the pensions and healthcare of a rapidly aging population. By 2050, more than 25% of the population in OECD countries will be 65 years old or older, compared to slightly fewer than 15% today**.

German workers are the most pragmatic about the situation, with nearly half (49%) saying they will take advantage of financial products on the open market, such as annuities, at their own expense in order to be able to retire at the age they had originally planned.

On the other hand, a clutch of other countries, including Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium, showed a much lower tolerance towards working longer. The Spanish are the most reluctant to retire later, with just 18% saying they have accepted this position.

On average, over a quarter of Europeans accept that while they may have to work longer due to government policy, they will take responsibility for their own financial situation by purchasing financial tools such as an annuity.

Across Europe, people displayed a very high awareness of the minimum state retirement age, with an overall average of nine in ten Europeans saying it was an issue in their country.

Oliver Rowlands, head of retirement, EMEA, at Aon Consulting commented: “The turbulent economic environment of the past few years has really forced people and governments to take stock, look at their and their nation’s retirement plans and evaluate whether they will be ready for an ageing population.

“In the UK, for example, the massive fluctuations in equity markets mean that workers with defined contribution pension arrangements are still not back to the same levels of savings before the financial crisis began.

“Europeans are living longer and more productive lives than previous generations, so it is no longer a given that people should retire in their early sixties. European employers should be aware that older workers bring a wealth of experience and may want to adopt a strategy for accommodating part-time working or job-sharing, for example.

“But employers need to do more than this if they are going to grapple with an ageing workforce. Health and wellness initiatives such as employee assistance lines (a service for employees offering free counseling and professional advisory services), flexible benefits, occupational health initiatives and flexible working days, are all ways of helping to ensure the health and welfare of an ageing staff. “


For more information:
David Skapinker
PR Manager, Aon
David.skapinker@aon.co.uk
+44 (0)20 7505 7478

Notes to Editors

Survey responses:

 

If the minimum state retirement age in your country is being, or has recently been raised beyond 65, how do you feel about this?

 

BELG

DEN

FR

GER

IRE

NETH

NOR

SPAIN

SWITZ

UK

AVERAGE

I am OK with this, I will simply retire later. This is what I expected

23.6

44.51

35.2

25.61

46.41

41.09

35.2

18

26.6

44.88

34.11

I would rather stop working earlier and receive less income

38

27.74

23.6

23.16

20.32

41.76

23.8

32.9

30

31.04

29.232

I will buy additional cover (e.g. an annuity) at my own expense in order to be able to retire at the age I had originally planned

20.6

14.97

37.9

48.68

13.15

17.15

17.8

43.2

36.4

14.93

26.478

This is not an issue in my country

17.8

12.77

3.3

2.55

20.12

0

23.2

5.9

7

9.15

10.179

 

** Source: OECD factbook: 2009 http://titania.sourceoecd.org/vl=1375277/cl=15/nw=1/rpsv/factbook2009/01/02/01/index.htm

About Aon Consulting
Aon Consulting is among the top global human capital consulting firms, with more than 6,300 professionals in 229 offices worldwide. The firm works with organizations to improve business performance and shape the workplace of the future through employee benefits, talent management and rewards strategies and solutions. Aon Consulting was named the best employee benefit consulting firm by the readers of Business Insurance magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. For more information on Aon Consulting, please visit http://www.aon.com/human-capital-consulting.

About Aon
Aon Corporation (NYSE: AON) is the leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital consulting. Through its more than 36,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon delivers distinctive client value via innovative and effective risk management and workforce productivity solutions. Aon's industry-leading global resources and technical expertise are delivered locally through more than 500 offices in more than 120 countries. Named the world's best broker by Euromoney magazine's 2008 and 2009 Insurance Survey, Aon also ranked highest on Business Insurance's listing of the world's largest insurance brokers based on commercial retail, wholesale, reinsurance and personal lines brokerage revenues in 2008 and 2009. A.M. Best deemed Aon the number one insurance broker based on brokerage revenues in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and Aon was voted best insurance intermediary, best reinsurance intermediary and best employee benefits consulting firm in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by the readers of Business Insurance. For more information on Aon, log onto http://www.aon.com

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