Graduates might have to wait until they are 70 before drawing a state pension, the head of the Pension Commission has suggested.
But lower-paid workers could still retire on a full pension at 65, Adair Turner told the Sunday Times.
The variance would reflect the fact that professionals live about five years longer than unskilled workers, he said.
Turner told the newspaper: “One of the sad facts is that, although life expectancy is going up, it is going up least in lower socio-economic groups.
“So we have to be sensitive to that when we put up the state pension age.”
The former CBI chief said a person who worked from the age of 16 would be eligible for a pension at 65, but “the person who went to university and started serious work at 23 is not going to get it until 70.”
Chancellor Gordon Brown dismissed the interview as “speculation” about the commission report, although it is Turner who will deliver it.
Brown stressed there was a need to build a consensus between politicians of all parties, business and employees if the commission recommended significant changes to the pensions system.
Turner is due to give his final report on pensions in the autumn. The government has said it will consult widely on his recommendations.