Most employees expect to delay their retirement as a result of the recession, Aon Consulting research suggests.
The consultant's survey of more than 4,000 workers found 64% believe the recession will delay their retirement plans while 19% envisage having to work between six and nine years longer.
It says the findings are likely to be driven by falls in value of defined contribution assets.
Aon's monthly DC Pension Tracker estimates the combined value of the UK's DC pension savings has fallen by 12% since September 2007.
Senior consultant Richard Strachan says: "Although we have witnessed heightened levels of optimism in recent months, these findings highlight the real impact that the economic downturn is having on Britain's workforce not simply today, but the knock on effects it will have in the years to come.
"As pension savings become more of a hot topic, employers need to ensure, as part of both their ongoing duty of care and an ever increasing focus on plan governance, that they highlight to members how their plans are performing and, perhaps more importantly, why and where they can access up-to-date information.
"Ideally, communications to employees regarding DC pension savings should highlight where monies are invested, provide monthly statements on fund values and reinforce the benefits of an employer-sponsored scheme, for example, preferential provider charges."
However, Strachan says a greater propensity for working past normal retirement age could have some inadvertent benefits.
He says the non-financial benefits of an older workforce - such as retained knowledge and experience - "far outweigh" the extra costs that arise in relation to salaries, training, pensions and health benefits.
He says: "There has to be a real discussion in this country about the value older workers bring to the economy, and a shift in the thinking that we have to retire at a certain pre-conceived age.
"Already governments around the world are shifting the retirement age to later in life to reflect increasing levels of longevity, but employers need to match this with a positive attitude to workers older than the current retirement age."
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