News - 09.06.2014 klo 08.25

Finns more willing to retire at a later age than five years ago

Approximate estimates about the age at which Finnish employees are likely to retire have jumped considerably in five years. The preliminary data from Statistics Finland's Quality of Work Life Survey for 2013 clearly demonstrates this.

Approximate estimates about the age at which Finnish employees are likely to retire have jumped considerably in five years. The preliminary data from Statistics Finland's Quality of Work Life Survey for 2013 clearly demonstrates this.

In 2008 the proportion of Finnish employees over 50 years of age who said they would retire at the age of 64 or later was 28 per cent, but in 2013 the figure was 37 per cent.

Women felt they could continue their working career longer than men did. The figure for women was 39 per cent and for men 32 per cent. The proportion of women holding this view has increased dramatically in the last five years.

The willingness to continue correlates strongly with the level of education and occupational status among employees. The higher these tend to be the greater the willingness to continue longer in working life.

Only 18 per cent of factory workers expressed a willingness to continue longer in work, but for of upper-level employees in management positions the percentage was 61. Life expectancy is also clearly longer for those in management positions.

Many employees also said that they would consider working also when retired. In 2013, as many as 70 per cent of employees aged over 50 said they might consider working during retirement either full-time, part-time or temporarily, while in 2008 this share was 54 per cent.

Make work more human

Are Finns work shy asks research director Anna-Maija Lehto from Statistics Finland in her article in Tieto&Trendit when analysing the new figures about Finns' retirement plans.

She refers to the ongoing political debate on how working careers might be extended. Lehto believes that some of the earlier committee work had deliberately sought to offer credence to the view that working careers do not become longer without enforcement.

Such research also reflects a certain preconception concerning human beings, based on the belief that no one will work longer than 63 years of age unless he has to, Lehto writes.
The statistics show, however, something different. The willingness to work later is clearly growing and the proportion of those over 55 years of age in working life is higher than ever in Finland.

Within the European perspective Finland is doing well, too. In the last quarter of 2013 the percentage of 60-64 year olds in working life was 44 per cent. In the EU28 it was on average 35 per cent. In Sweden the figure is higher at 67 per cent.

Lehto reminds us that in Sweden, like in Finland, the retirement age is flexible. In Sweden one can retire between 61 and 67 years of age, and in Finland between 63 and 68 years of age. And still the employment rate for older people in Sweden is higher than in Finland. There should be no obstacles to reaching a similar level also in Finland, she says.

Trade unions regularly stress that one of the most effective methods to get people to work longer is to make work more human and taking into consideration the individual situation of employees. Another problem is that the people over 55 years of age face major difficulties in the labour market when it comes to keeping and getting a job. The employers are reluctant to employ people at that age.

The labour market organisations are now negotiating on reforms to the pension system. The proposals should be on the table later this year and the new pension system is set to take effect in the year 2017.

Heikki Jokinen

Read also:

Employees' estimates about their age of retirement have risen considerably (Statistics Finland)

Akava members show signs they are willing to retire later (03.12.2013)

Written by: SYSTEM