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Work-to-retirement transition may be influenced by employment type

Eagers J, Franklin R, Yau M, Broome K. Pre-retirement job and the work-to-retirement occupational transition process in Australia: A review Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 2018; 65(4): 314-328.

Review question

       What are the factors that have an impact on the extent to which individuals participate in the work-to-retirement transition process?


       The aging of the population is a worldwide phenomenon. As the age of those in the workforce increases, impacts are likely to be seen in the transition from workforce participation to retirement.

       To improve the health and well-being of individuals during retirement, it is important for researchers to understand the influence of pre-retirement jobs on the work-to-retirement transition.

       The aim of this systematic review is to explore the factors that have an impact on participation in the work-to-retirement occupational transition process, with a focus on research conducted in Australia.

How the review was done

       Review authors conducted a detailed search of eight scientific databases for peer-reviewed literature relating to the work-to-retirement occupational transition process.

       Searches were conducted for studies published from September 2015 to October 2015. Search terms were generally related to jobs, retirement and Australia.

      A total of 19,140 articles were retrieved from the initial search, of which 15 were included in this review.

      No specific funding was reported for this review.

What the researchers found

       Retirement from work is a complex process that is influenced by many factors covering all stages of work, preparation to retire, transition and retirement.

       It was found that individuals’ experiences and perceptions of work were associated with their experiences and perceptions of retirement.

       White-collar workers (those performing professional, managerial or administrative work) were found to be more likely than blue-collar workers (those performing manual labour) to financially plan for retirement, to have more choice and control over the retirement transition, to want transitional employment, and to be in a better financial position for retirement.

       These pre-retirement differences mean that white-collar workers may have a smoother and more positive retirement experience than blue-collar workers, as they are more likely to have the funds necessary to undertake their desired retirement activities.

       A number of variables which may influence the retirement experience were identified. These included pre-retirement job (for example, work stress, job demands and work-related challenges), individual attributes (for example, physical and mental health). retirement transition (for example, planning), and post-retirement activities (for example, volunteering and leisure activities).


       The transition from work to retirement is an evolving and complex process.

       Although differences in participation in the work-to-retirement transition process as a result of pre-retirement job (white-collar versus blue-collar workers) were found, review authors also found inconsistencies between studies, making it difficult to formulate conclusive findings.

       Individuals currently undergoing the work-to-retirement transition can seek out occupational therapists to assist in understanding and facilitating this complex transition.


Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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