9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Late career and retirement Building II, C5.07

Voluntary and Involuntary Early Retirement in Germany - The effects of labour market structures and gender

The trend towards ever earlier retirement has been one of the most important labour market developments in the past fifty years (Hofäcker & Pollnerová 2006). Together with the general trend towards demographic ageing, there will be a strong decrease in Germanys overall work force, resulting in a constantly growing group of pension recipients However, retirement transitions are not necessarily always voluntary, but could also be involuntary, i.e. driven by the lack of further employment options. By this distinction between voluntary and involuntary retirement, one could possibly identify unused labour capacities which - if activated - may increase employment among older workers.
Previous cross-national analysis show (Dorn & Sousa-Poza 2007), that especially continental European countries are strongly affected by involuntary early retirement. Our analysis using the first wave of the 'Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe' (SHARE) confirm this picture but additionally highlight that sex, region, employment sector, and the size of the enterprise are important determinants of the distinction between voluntary and involuntary early retirement . The risk of involuntary early retirement is significantly higher for men, employees in bigger enterprises, and employees in Eastern Germany. Especially men working in the secondary sector are to a large extent involuntary early retired as a consequence of firms' extensive rationalisation efforts. On the other hand, women working in tertiary sector employment where rationalisation pressures are less pronounced are mostly voluntary retired.