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Average UK retirement ages by profession

Written by Retirement Line Updated: 30th January 2024

With the UK State Pension age creeping up to 67 in 2026, and further rises ahead, retirement is frustratingly edging that bit further away for many of us. But people in some professions are typically able to retire before reaching State Pension age.

Some retirees are reaping the benefits of their career income or pension schemes sooner than others. A few lucky workers are even able to get their golden handshake up to 20 years before State Pension age. 

We take a look at the typical UK retirement ages of some of the most popular careers and the top ten jobs bagging an early retirement – two decades early in some cases.

Average retirement ages by profession in the UK

Wondering what age the average doctor, teacher or firefighter clocks off from their career? Despite the State Pension kicking in at 66 today, some public sector workers in particular often enjoy an earlier pension age. Here’s a breakdown of their career retirement ages.

Doctors retirement age

According to a report by the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in 2020, the average doctor’s retirement age is 59.6 (men 59.9, women 58.9). The report found that the main factors which influenced retirement were health and wellbeing (85%), workload (66%) and burnout (61%).

Police retirement age

According to GOV.UK, the normal police retirement age is 60, though they have the option to retire at any time after reaching their minimum retirement age, which is currently 55. 

If they choose to, they can request an earlier commencement of their pension income, but it will be a lesser amount to reflect that they will receive it for longer. Civilian police staff, however, have a default retirement age that runs in line with the State Pension age.

Firefighters retirement age

The standard pension age for firefighters is also 60.If a firefighter is an active member and wishes to draw their pension after age 55 but before age 60, their pension would be reduced to take account of the fact that it will be paid for longer. 

Teachers retirement age

According to the Teachers Planning Retirement website, around 10,000 teachers retire each year. They state that the average teacher retirement age in the UK is 55-60.

Armed forces retirement age

The default Army retirement age, RAF retirement age and Royal Navy retirement age are all set at 60 by the government. 

According to GOV.UK, all members of the armed forces are automatically enrolled into the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. Members pay 0% in contributions each month and have a normal pension age of 60. This is five years higher than the previous age of 55 after pension scheme changes came into play in 2015. 

Best careers for early retirement

A study by Our Life Plan reveals the best industries for those wanting to retire early. Below are the top ten careers where workers “have the highest chances of early retirement” based on metrics such as how much they can save into their pension scheme

Best careers for early retirement





  Potential age at early retirement 


  1. Commercial manager


  1. Taxation expert


  1. Construction manager  


  1. Product manager


  1. Marketing


  1. Project manager


  1. IT manager


  1. Electrician


  1. Programmer Analyst


  1. Financial Analyst


According to the findings, commercial managers, taxation experts and construction managers all have a chance of taking early retirement at 46. That’s a huge 20 years earlier than the current State Pension age of 66.

Could an annuity help you to retire early?

As there is no mandatory retirement age in the UK, you are free to continue working as long as you wish. However, how early you can take your retirement largely depends on how much you have set aside to support yourself for the rest of your life.

At Retirement Line we help people from age 55 upwards explore how an annuity could form part of their retirement income planning. Annuities can provide a guaranteed income for life or can run for a shorter period of time to suit your financial wants and needs in retirement. 

For instance, if you’re planning to retire at 58, a fixed-term annuity could bridge that eight year gap in earnings between your retirement start date and when you reach State Pension age.

If you are aged 55+ and want to find out how an annuity could support your retirement, call our friendly team on 01733 973038 or request a free call back here. 

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