Start project Pensioenfonds PGB and ROA: The role of pensions for career decisions

Pensioenfonds PGB has joined forces with the Research Center for Education and the Labor Market (ROA) at Maastricht University this month to embark on a new project: The role of pensions for career decisions. The project was initiated by Netspar and is being funded by Instituut Gak. Henk Heek, Lead Client Innovation at the Strategic Advice department, is playing a connecting role for PGB within the project and is happy to say more about it.

Raymond Montizaan (ROA/UM)
Henk Heek (PGB)

What does the project involve?

“The project is focused on sustainable employability in relation to pensions. The recent pension reforms, technological innovations and the aging crisis all have major implications for our society. These changes pose a threat to the employability of workers up to their retirement. The aim of this project is threefold. First, we will conduct field experiments to identify the role played by various types of pension information provision in late career investments and savings intentions. Second, we will examine in detail the extent to which pension reforms combined with technological changes are impacting the employment, pension and savings behavior of older workers in the Netherlands. Finally, we will investigate how employees can be motivated to continue investing in their human capital.”


What role is Pensioenfonds PGB playing in the project?

“Pensioenfonds PGB has a Financial Insight Tool (FIT) on its pension portal to provide financial insight and therefore guidance. FIT phase 3 is now starting preparations for data collection on all finances in addition to pensions. This is part of efforts by Pensioenfonds PGB to encourage employees to get financially fit. As a result, FIT’s main focus is currently on guidance based on financial indicators. But Pensioenfonds PGB also wants to use FIT to take a longer strategic view and conduct research. Maastricht University and Pensioenfonds PGB will jointly design a field experiment that will explore this further development with reference to FIT, for example in the field of sustainable employability. That will enable us to play a part in reducing stress due to financial concerns and labor market prospects. And later perhaps in the area of health too. Who knows? Through this approach, we can help increase our participants’ capacity for change. If we succeed, our participants will be better able to gravitate towards the position where they feel happiest in our society. PGB is about more than just the financial side.”


What is your role in the project?

“I mainly serve as the link between Pensioenfonds PGB and the project, particularly with regard to FIT. I’m currently the product owner of FIT phase 3. I want to work with my colleagues to see how we can harness the potential of our new insights. I also think it’s important to disseminate the strategic ideas from this project across the organization.”

Why is the project important to you?

“Sustainable employability is a subject that really appeals to me. As pension providers, we mainly focus on the future and future income. But I believe pensions are not just about the future. They also concern current income. If we’re not able to earn sufficient current income, we’ll also be unable to accrue sufficient pension. After all, pension is deferred pay. So we need to focus not only on finances and pensions for the future, but also on sustainable employability to provide support right now. I believe that as a sector we must engage more deeply in that role within the ecosystem and the world in which we find ourselves.”


What can the project deliver for Pensioenfonds PGB?

“It would be great if this project enabled us to extend FIT to include the labor market prospects component, bringing in suitable partners while avoiding any security or privacy issues. This would enable Pensioenfonds PGB to lead the way in experimentation with current income. That’s one of the reasons I came to work here. To provide support and guidance amid the uncertainty surrounding both future and current income.”


Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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