How feasible is it for men and women to increase their retirement age? A German study identifies two key elements for men and women to extend their working lives
The life expectancy has increased significantly in the Western world. This means that we all live longer years with better health. However, the current retirement age limits pose significant challenges for both, the pension system and the retirees themselves.
A new study published in the European Journal of Aging by researchers Daniela Weber and Elke Loichinger of the German Federal Institute for Population Research seeks to answer the hot question of whether retirement limits can be raised.
Researchers used the relationship between life expectancy and three health indicators as the basis of their study, such as the ability to work and work between 50-59 years and 60-69 years for men and women in Europe. Particular emphasis was placed on parameters such as physical, mental and general state of health.
From the processing of the data at their disposal, Dr Daniela Weber and Elke Loichinger argue that there is an overall potential to increase the years of economically active life for both men and women aged 60-69. However, analyzing data related to the educational level, researchers discovered large differences between the population socio-economic groups.
For example, 60-year-old men in Sweden with a low level of education are expected to be able to work 4.2 years longer. This translates to six extra years of work for their highly educated peers. In terms of men’s physical condition, those with a low level of education are expected to have 8.4 years of good health and those with a higher education 8.7 additional years of good health. However, in Bulgaria, men of the same age with higher education are expected to be able to work an additional 4.5 years and have an additional 5.7 years of good physical health. Their peers with a low level of education are expected to enjoy just 2.7 extra years of good health and a similar period of being active at work.
“The heterogeneity between education groups in terms of health and the ability to work beyond currently observed labor market exit ages has to be taken into account when working lives are being extended. Our results indicate potential to extend working lives beyond current levels. However, significant differences in the expected number of years in good health between persons with different levels of education require policies that account for this heterogeneity”underlines Dr Weber.