+AA
Fr
McMasterLogo_New-2017-300x165
Back
Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

An increase of the retirement age increases the labour force participation of older workers, but the effect on the health and wellbeing of older workers is unclear

Pilipiec P , Groot W, Pavlova M. The effect of an increase of the retirement age on the health, well-being, and labor force participation of older workers: A systematic literature review Journal of Population Ageing. 2021;14:271-315.    

Review question

What are the effects of an increase in the retirement age on the health, well-being, and labour force participation of older workers?

Background

An aging population leads to an increase in the number of working aged people necessary to support each person aged 65 or older. This can put a financial strain on public-pension programs.

In order to financially sustain public-pension programs, an increase in the legal retirement age and the age for eligibility to pension benefits is suggested. This increases the workforce by employing more older workers and increases labour-tax revenues.

Workers may experience more difficulties working at an older age. They may need additional support and may be more likely to have disabilities and other health problems.

How the review was done

A detailed search of a number of electronic databases was conducted for studies published from 2000 and on. Studies that focused on older workers (age 45+), work participation beyond the retirement age, health, wellbeing, and labour-force participation were included.

A total of 4,927 unique studies were identified in searches and 19 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.

This study was funded by the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance at Maastricht University (the Netherlands).

What the researchers found

An increase in the retirement age had a positive effect on health promoting behaviours and satisfaction with health. However, delayed access to pension benefits reinforces health inequalities.  This finding could be due to a selection bias, where healthier workers are able to work past the retirement age.

The findings on wellbeing, measured by job satisfaction, were inconsistent. An increase in job satisfaction could be due to selection bias, where more satisfied workers continue to work past the retirement age. A decrease in job satisfaction can be due to the perception that increased years of working for the same amount of pension benefits is unfair.

Labour-force participation increases with an increased retirement age. After public-pension reforms that increased the statutory retirement age, the expected and preferred retirement ages of people studied also increased.

Conclusion

An increase of the retirement age increases labour-force participation among older workers. However, there is no consistent evidence on the impact of retirement age on the health and wellbeing of older workers. This can be due to studies investigating only certain aspects of health and wellbeing.  More research is needed to investigate the effects of an increase of the retirement age on the health and wellbeing of diverse groups of older workers.



Related Topics


Glossary

Selection bias
Possibility of errors in choosing individuals or groups to take part in a research study.

Related Web Resources

  • Work, Care and the Carer-Inclusive and Accommodating Organizations (CIAO) Standard

    The Vanier Institute of the Family
    The Carer-Inclusive and Accommodating Organizations (CIAO) Standard supports employees who are also informal caregivers. It helps employers and employees work together to balance work and caregiving responsibilities. A standard can help ensure employees feel more supported in their jobs. It also encourages employee retention and recruitment. Read this resource to learn more.
  • Promoting the labour force participation of older Canadians

    Health Canada
    This resource describes Canadian plans to help older adults to work for longer such as by increasing education, helping find jobs and handle health issues.
  • Infographic: Women, Caregiving and Work in Canada

    The Vanier Institute of the Family
    Caregivers have disproportionately been women. Women are also more likely to encounter challenges at work due to their caregiver status. Read this resource to learn more about the status of women workers and caregivers.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Register
Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.
Subscribe

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use