Research on Working Lives and Their Development

The length and timing of working life and the earnings received during that period affect the pension level. Working lives also affect the financial sustainability of the pension system. The socio-political aims of extending working lives increase the need for research data of the subject.

At the Finnish Centre for Pensions, we conduct research on the length of working lives and on the earnings accrued during working life. We study the working conditions, the stability of the working life and the retirement intentions of different wage earner groups. We review the initial, mid- and final stages of working life. Using various scenarios, we also assess the long-term development of working lives.

Working lives may include interruptions that are due to, for example, periods of unemployment, studies or parental leaves. Data on the frequency and allocation of unpaid periods between population groups, as well as of working life after breaks, are significant from the point of view of both the pension provision and employment.

Our research on working lives is mainly based on national data, but international comparisons offer perspective, for example, when assessing the magnitude of gender gaps or differences between socioeconomic groups.

Current research projects

Measures to extend working life

Aim: The aim of our project is to find out how the different administrative sectors and socio-political measures allocated to different stages of working life will extend working life. The Finnish Centre for Pensions will participate in the section of the project in which register data (FLEED) is used to examine, on the one hand, displacement from and return to working life and, on the other hand, the features underlying the rising employment rate of the elderly, in particular the significance of changes to the structure of occupation, education and industry. We will do the survey by analysing entrance and exit flows from the labour market states.

Realization: The project is financed by the Prime Minister’s Office Finland and led by the Rehabilitation Foundation in cooperation with the Work Research Centre of the University of Tampere and the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Schedule: 2015–2017

Researchers: Noora Järnefelt (Finnish Centre for Pensions), Simo Aho and Ari Mäkiaho (University of Tampere)

Parenthood as early career earnings risk (PAECER)

Aim: Early career development in terms of labour market attachment and earnings is important for later life, but also for future pensions and thus incomes in old age. In this project, we study the effects of parenthood, parental leave breaks and other career discontinuities on labour market attachment and earnings development of young Finnish women and men.

Realization: We use register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and Statistics Finland’s data for cohorts born between 1967 and 1987. We carry out trajectory analyses in order to identify different early career paths and crucial covariates that are explaining those employment trajectories.

Schedule: 2016–2019

Researchers: Kati Kuitto (ETK), Janne Salonen (ETK), Jan Helmdag (University of Greifswald)

Pension reform 2017 questionnaire survey

Aim: In this project, we will examine the intentions relating to continued working and retirement of people born between 1954 and 1962 who are approaching retirement age. We will also ask them about the significance of incentives. At the same time, we will inform them of the content of the 2017 pension reform and ask them about their understanding of the reform.

Realisation: We will conduct a survey questionnaire for people approaching the retirement age.

: autumn of 2015 – 2017

Researcher: Sanna Tenhunen

The 2005 pension reform in Finland: Effects of changing economic incentives on old-age retirement

Aim: The main focus of our study will be on the changes in the economic incentives of the pension reform on retirement/continued working.

Realisation: The empirical section of the study is based on a 10-per-cent random sample from the register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions of 50-70-year-old Finnish citizens in the years 2000-2011

Schedule: 2016–2017

Researcher: Satu Nivalainen

Working conditions, working life and retirement

Aim: In this project, we will investigate the relation between working conditions to the termination of working life and retirement. Our focus will be on the significance of working conditions in relation to an extension of working life. The project was launched in 2014 and the reporting will span throughout the research programme period of the Finnish Centre for Pensions: 2015–2019.

We will examine wage earners’ retirement intentions and their actual retirement. We will conduct a versatile review of retirement on an old-age pension, an early pension or through unemployment. We will examine working conditions as multilevel phenomenon. During the research project and in cooperation with different actors, the Finnish Centre for Pensions aims at compiling extensive domestic expertise relating to the subject. The data produced will be utilised in the projection of the development of working lives and the effective retirement age.

Realization: We will conduct several partial studies within this research project. The studies will be based primarily on the Quality of Worklife Surveys of Statistics Finland and related register data, which enable us to monitor working life and retirement.

Schedule: 2014–2019

Stage 1: A descriptive report on wage-earners’ retirement intentions based on the 2013 Quality of Worklife Survey and the link between working conditions and retirement intentions.

Researchers: Riku Perhoniemi, Pirjo Saari (Keva) and Noora Järnefelt (Finnish Centre for Pensions)

Schedule: completed

Järnefelt N., Perhoniemi R. and Saari P., (2014). Working conditions and retirement intentions 2013. Finnish Centre for Pensions, Reports 08/2014 (Executive Summary)

Stage 2: Anthology titled “Työolot ja työurat” (working conditions and working lives), compiled of articles by researchers at the Finnish Centre for Pensions , Keva, the Labour Institute for Economic Research, the University of Tampere and the University of Jyväskylä. The subject areas of the articles are working conditions, extended working life and retirement.

Researchers: Noora Järnefelt, Mikko Laaksonen Satu Nivalainen (Finnish Centre for Pensions) and external researchers

Noora Järnefelt (edit) Työolot ja työurat – tutkimuksia työurien vakaudesta
ja eläkkeelle siirtymisestä. Eläketurvakeskuksen tutkimuksia 08/2016.

Stage 3.: In this study, we examine the link between the Quality of Working Life (QWL) index and retirement on a disability pension.   The self-reported quality of working life may significantly prevent retirement on a disability pension. It may also act as a risk-reducing factor for those whose ability to work has already been reduced.  In other studies, the QWL index has been proved to be linked to a company’s productivity. In this project, we aim to find out if the nation-wide Finnish Quality of Work Life Survey can confirm a similar link between the QWL index level, the disability risk and productivity.

Realisation: Our study is based on the Finnish Quality of Work Life Survey data, supplemented with register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Schedule: 2016–2017

Researchers: Tuomas Savusalo, Noora Järnefelt, Marko Kesti, Jaana Leinonen

Working life and adequate pension provision

Aim: In this project, we will examine the connection between the length, timing and possible interruptions in working life and the adequacy of pension provision. In particular, we will review the socioeconomic and gender differences.

Realization: Our research will consist of several partial studies. They will be based primarily on the register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and Statistics Finland’s data on educational level, occupation and socioeconomic status.

Schedule: 2015–2019

Researchers: Susan Kuivalainen, Noora Järnefelt and Satu Nivalainen

Young people displaced from the labour market

Aim: Being displaced from the labour market has wide-ranging effects in terms of the future pension provision. In the first phase of this study, we will examine how many people face the danger of being displaced and what happens when the displacement lasts for a long time. Our research question relates to how big a share of the youth face the danger of being excluded from the labour market. Our review period is 2005-2014 and we will focus mainly on the 1987 birth cohort. In our research, we will apply the so-called trajectory analysis to find out the employment trajectory of the youth.

Realization: We will use the research register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions, in addition to Statistics Finland’s data on occupation, socioeconomic status and educational level, in order to make a statistical modelling.

Schedule: 2015–2017

Researchers: Janne Salonen (Finnish Centre for Pensions)  and Tapio Nummi, Pekka Virtanen, Antti Saloniemi, Liudmila Lipiäinen (University of Tampere)