Expected reasons for leaving the labour market and loss of paid employment among older workers: prospective cohort study

Emil Sundstrup*, Annette Meng, Sebastian Venge Skovlund, Karen Albertsen, Lars L. Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Surveying expected reasons for retirement may be a useful strategy to maintain labor market affiliation. The aim was to investigate the prospective association between self-reported expected reasons for leaving the labour market and subsequent loss of paid employment before the state pension age among older workers. Methods: The prospective risk of loss of paid employment before the official state pension age was estimated from expected reasons for leaving the labour market among 10,320 currently employed older workers (50–63 years) from the SeniorWorkingLife study. In 2018, participants replied to 15 randomly ordered questions about expected reasons for leaving the labour market and were in 2020 followed in a national register containing information on labour market participation. Results: Loss of paid employment before state pension age was predicted by expected reasons related to ‘Health, work demands and occupational well-being’: ‘Poor physical health’ (RR 1.47, 95% CI 1.45–1.49), ‘Poor mental health’ (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.32–1.40), ‘Not being capable of doing the job’ (RR 1.20, 95% CI 1.18–1.22), and ‘Not thriving at the workplace’ (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.11–1.17). Expected reasons related to the possibility of receiving voluntary early retirement benefits also increased this risk. Expected reasons related to ‘Leisure’ (‘Wish for more self-determination’; ‘Wish for more time for hobbies’), ‘Economy’ (‘Economic considerations’; ‘Possibility of receiving pension’), and ‘Norms’ (‘Retirement norms’; ‘To make space for younger employees’) decreased the risk of loss of paid employment before state pension age. Age-stratified analyses revealed that expected reasons related to the domain of ‘Health, work demands and occupational well-being’ predicted risk of loss of paid employment to a greater extent among workers aged 50–55 compared to those aged 56–63. Conclusions: Expected reasons for leaving the labour market predicted actual labour market participation among older workers in Denmark. Expected reasons related to poor physical and mental health, and not being capable of doing the job seem to be stronger PUSH-factors among workers aged 50–55 compared to those aged 56–63. Preventing early labour market detachment should take the worker’s expected reasons for leaving into account.

Original languageEnglish
Article number517
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume23
Number of pages11
ISSN1471-2458
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17. Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Danish foundation TrygFonden.

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Public health
  • Retirement
  • Senior workers
  • Sustainable employment
  • Prospective Studies
  • Humans
  • Occupations
  • Employment/psychology
  • Retirement/psychology
  • Pensions

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