1887

A matter of health and job satisfaction

Seniors, work and retirement in the Nordic region

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In all the Nordic countries there is a declared policy of increasing work participation among seniors. The most important reason comes from a more long-term population, generation and welfare perspective: gradually, as more and more older people live longer, it is becoming increasingly expensive for younger age groups to finance and maintain relatively generous welfare schemes. The report a matter of health and job satisfaction compares and analyses the situation of seniors on the labour market in the Nordic countries as well as pension and social insurance systems. Seven in ten seniors aged 50-64 are in work, while three in ten have either retired early or are on the way out of working life. Impaired health and capacity for work represent the most important ”exit route”, followed by voluntary, flexible pensions, unemployment and working environment. Other causes include formal and informal barriers and age discrimination. People are different, seniors not least. Health, duties and working environment are crucial to more seniors being able and wanting to work for longer, in addition to which they want to be seen, made use of and appreciated!

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Conclusions

Like the rest of Europe, the Nordic countries have ageing populations. In other words, life expectancy is increasing and the proportion of older people in the population is growing. This is a continuation of a long historical development involving better health and welfare for more and more people. This is basically a good thing and not something that should be turned into a problem. The main demographic challenge in Europe is that too few children are being born to maintain a stable population structure over time. There has also been a move towards many seniors retiring early and more young people entering working life later. This is creating challenges in terms of the distribution of benefits and burdens between the generations. The Nordic countries are relatively well equipped, high level of participation in working life – including among seniors – and relatively high birth rates (fertility) compared with most other countries in Europe.

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