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Half of the newly retired old-age pensioners are interested in working in retirement. According to a survey conducted by the Finnish Centre for Pensions, most persons who have worked in retirement have continued working for the same employer and with similar tasks. The work is often irregular and occasional.

One third of those retiring on an old-age pension from work in 2019–2021 work or have worked in retirement. Another 16 per cent would like to work.

Many who have recently retired from work feel that they are in sufficiently good health to continue working. In addition to having a good ability to work, those who liked their pre-retirement work and who felt that the skills of older employees had been appreciated at the workplace were also encouraged to continue working in retirement. Men work in retirement more often than women.

“Working in retirement is often irregular and occasional. Most of those pensioners who find their work interesting also want to work occasionally. Many emphasized the importance of the work being flexible and voluntary”, says Senior Researcher Anu Polvinen (Finnish Centre for Pensions).

Graph’s data in Excel file

More than half of those who had worked in retirement reported that they worked for the same employer and with similar tasks as before retiring. Slightly more than half of those who have changed employer state that they work with similar tasks. An ample one tenth of those who retired from paid work have worked as self-employed persons in retirement.

Often mentioned professions in which pensioners had worked included practical nurse, registered nurse, public health nurse, physician, teacher, kindergarten teacher, consultant, childminder or teaching assistant, salesperson and driver.

 “Pensioners seem to find work in fields that require expertise or that suffer from labour shortage”, Polvinen explains.

Working provides interesting tasks and makes pensioners feel needed

Most of those who are interested in working in retirement want to work because it gives them something interesting to do, a sense of purpose and social contacts. Financial reasons also motivate many pensioners to work in retirement. Two thirds of those interested in working in retirement want to work to earn more money. For one third, finding it difficult to make ends meet is an incentive for working in retirement. Around half state that they want to work because they accrue more pension for that work.

Graph’s data in Excel file

Many lack suitable work

Half of those who have retired on an old-age pension from gainful employment do not and do not want to work. The most common reasons for not working in retirement are that pensioners want to enjoy their time in retirement and feel that they have already had a long enough working life.

Of those who would like to work, half feel that no suitable work is available, and around 40 per cent of them suspect that they are not hired because of their age.

“Those who have retired on an old-age pension form a skilled and flexible workforce. It would be important that employers would more often view pensioners who want to work as a workforce potential. We should also report more on the psycho-social and financial benefits of working in retirement”, Polvinen concludes.

Nearly 3,400 persons retiring from paid work on an old-age pension between 2019 and 2021 responded to the survey.

Research publication: Working in retirement: Survey for persons retiring from work on an old-age pension in 2019–2021

Finnish Centre for Pensions – Central body of and expert on statutory earnings-related pensions