Back in 2011, the national default retirement age was scrapped.

This change in legislation protected older employees from being forced to retire when they remained perfectly capable and willing to continue working.

However, employers were permitted to introduce an employer-justified retirement age, which compelled retirement if a need for this rule could be justified.

At Oxford University, such an employer-justified retirement age was introduced at age 67, with an agreement to review it after five years.

The review concluded the employer-justified retirement age should be kept but increased from age 67 to 68.

The rule has now prompted an interesting debate about retirement ages and intergenerational inequality.

Keeping such a mandatory retirement age in place (albeit at one year older) means academics being forced to retire despite the ability and willingness to continue in their posts. 

Removing it could prevent younger academics from opportunities to progress.

With members of the post-war baby boomer generation often accused of being a 'privileged' class - thanks to rising property, stock market and pension values - perhaps a mandatory retirement age is the only fair way to ensure job vacancies are created for younger people?

One academic in this article proposes a 'tapered' approach to retirement, allowing a move to part-time contracts after age 68, which seems like a sensible compromise.