New research from Aviva has unveiled that more than a quarter (28%) of those aged 25 to 54 believe they will never fully retire.

This finding suggests that the concept of a traditional retirement is becoming less prevalent among those in their prime working years.

The study highlights that Generation X, those aged between 45 and 54, are particularly sceptical about the possibility of full retirement.

Nearly one in three (31%) of this group think it is unlikely they will ever retire completely. This underscores the unique pressures faced by the so-called ‘sandwich generation,’ who often juggle responsibilities for both aging parents and their own children while managing their financial obligations.

Gen X falls between those who benefitted from final salary pensions and younger generations benefiting from auto-enrollment in pension plans.

Where is the scepticism the highest?

Millennials, too, share a similar outlook. More than a quarter (27%) of millennials (25-44) doubt they will ever fully retire. This skepticism is slightly higher among younger millennials (28% of 25 to 34-year-olds) compared to older millennials (26% of 35 to 44-year-olds), reflecting the ongoing financial pressures and the delayed introduction of auto-enrollment during their early working years.

The survey also reveals a significant gender disparity in retirement expectations. Only a third of women (33%) believe they are likely to completely retire, compared to almost half of men (47%).

A quarter of Britons (25%) do not expect to retire before the age of 70, with nearly a third (30%) wanting to continue earning to maintain their current lifestyle. Over a fifth of all respondents, including 13 percent of those aged 55 and above, do not foresee ever fully retiring.

What are the other reasons for this?

Interestingly, not all respondents attribute their prolonged working life to financial constraints. One in six (16%) of those who do not anticipate retiring say they enjoy working and plan to continue beyond the traditional retirement age. This indicates a shift in attitudes towards work and retirement, with many viewing their professional life as a continuous journey rather than a destination.

Also, nearly 10 percent of those surveyed expressed a desire to allocate part of their pension savings for their next of kin or relatives, motivating them to remain in the workforce to bolster their financial reserves.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva, commented on these findings: “Attitudes towards retirement are changing. The idea that retirement is a fixed event on a fixed date is increasingly a thing of the past. Significant numbers are even questioning whether they will ever fully retire. Uncertainty appears to be greatest among the mid-life Gen X cohort. For this group, retirement is close enough to be a consideration but too far away to be a certainty. The good news is that retirement savers have more control over their futures than ever before. They can choose when to use their retirement savings and technology also allows savers to manage their money along the way, where and when they want. Record numbers of people are also now saving for their retirement. By taking control of our saving, we will be in a better place to take control of our retirement and create a more secure financial future.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.