Working conditions in post‑retirement jobs: A European comparison

  • Kène Henkens Kène Henkens
  • Ellen Dingemans Ellen Dingemans

A relatively new phenomenon in the Netherlands, as well as in other Western countries, is the emergence of a workforce of retirees. Retirement no longer necessarily means an abrupt and permanent withdrawal from the job market. Instead, a growing group of older adults remains active in paid employment after their retirement. With the growing labor force participation of retirees, questions arise regarding the individual and societal forces that are at play: who works in old age, why, what are the consequences, and under what conditions do retirees work? Academic research has made great progress towards a better understanding of the determinants and consequences of working after retirement. However, working conditions in post-retirement jobs remain largely unexplored. Therefore, using information on working conditions such as job demands, job control, and work hours, we investigate whether working retirees can be categorized by the quality of their jobs. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we perform latent class analysis on a sample of 2,926 working retirees in eleven European countries. The results point to the existence of two subgroups of working retirees. The first is confronted with high-quality jobs, while the second subgroup participates in low-quality jobs. Subsequent (multilevel) logit analysis suggests that classification in the one or the other group is predicted by the socio-economic status of working retirees and by the context of poverty in old age in the countries in question. We conclude that working after retirement in a high-quality job may be conceptually different from working in a low-quality job.

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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