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Behaviour change interventions towards extending working life

Our research project on the motivations and processes involved in the decision to extend working life.

Older man at work
The Department for Work and Pensions commissioned us to research the decisions behind choosing to work longer

Dr Andrew Weyman (together with colleagues in Economics and Health) lead a project commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to review and analyse evidence surrounding the factors that motivate extended working life. The research has applied insights from theories of decision making, mental models and behaviour change to better understand the processes by which people make decisions about planning and enacting their transitions into retirement.

Findings from this research have been used to inform briefings to the Minister for Pensions and to brief senior civil servants and policy delivery personnel within DWP’s Ageing Society and State Pensions Directorate. Findings contributed to DWP strategy in its ‘Extending Working Lives Sector Initiative’, which is designed to help employers manage abolition of the default retirement age. The research also aided DWP strategy for its ‘Age Positive initiative’ and partnership working with the Age Action Alliance's ‘Healthy Workplaces group’.

Impacts include: Dr Weyman appearing as an expert witness to the National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) Public Health Advisory Committee on ‘Workplace polices and approaches to promote and protect the health of older employees’. He was also a member of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee that produced the ‘Workplace health older employees guideline’ and was commissioned by the NHS Working Longer Group (NHSWLG) to lead the NHS Audit of Existing Research (Weyman, Meadows and Buckingham, 2013). Findings from this research informed the NHSWLG Report and recommendations to Health Departments, 2014, and the results were widely cited in responses to call for evidence on good practice, e.g. by: NHS Employers; British Medical Association; Royal College of Nursing; Chartered institute for Physiotherapists; GMB; Welsh NHS Confederation, NICE. Findings from the DWP benchmark review were also a key component of a successful bid for a four year MRC funded programme ‘Extending Working Lives in the NHS: Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects’. Findings from the latter project have formed a component of the evidence submitted to John Cridland’s independent review of State Pension Age, 2016/17.