Career pathways into retirement in the UK: linking older women’s pasts to the present

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Understanding of how women’s experiences in retirement are shaped by their pre-retirement lives is limited. In this paper we utilise an innovative mix of measures to examine the link between career histories and expectations and experiences of retirement. Analysis of timeline data capturing the long working lives of a sample of older women identifies five different pathways into retirement. We explore these trajectories in detail to determine how they are shaped and their links to different outcomes in later life. The analysis shows how different career histories unfold and how they shape expectations and experiences of retirement. Long, professional career pathways leave women feeling enabled in retirement, women following more fragmented pathways are more constrained and some trajectories, including pathways involving transitions into professional careers in later life, can leave older women financially and emotionally vulnerable in older age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-599
Number of pages18
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Early online date3 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • career
  • retirement
  • work history


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