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Working after retirement

Determinants and consequences of bridge employment
PhD ceremony:Ms E.A.A. (Ellen) Dingemans
When:March 09, 2016
Supervisor:prof. dr. C.J.I.M. (Kène) Henkens
Co-supervisor:dr. H. van Solinge
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Working after retirement

An increasing number of older adults returns to the labour force after (early) retirement. As compared to other European countries, a relatively high share of the Dutch older population, namely one in four, is working after retirement in so-called bridge jobs. Ellen Dingemans studied the topic of working after retirement as a PhD-candidate at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI).

To increase the understanding of working after retirement and its consequences, Dingemans analysed survey data from the Netherlands and from 15 other European countries. The Dutch data was collected by the NIDI between 2001 and 2011 among 2,400 older workers. Additionally, data was used from the large-scale European data collection ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and retirement in Europe’.

Those retirees who participate in paid work are mostly early pensioners, they are often highly educated, and they are in relatively good health. However, the research shows that also among less advantaged retirees, such as those lower educated or in poor health, a substantial minority works after retirement. The most important reason for participating in paid work after retirement is enjoyment. About 15% of the retirees works after retirement to meet financial needs and for one out of ten retirees, social contacts are the most important reason to return to paid work. Moreover, some retirees search for paid jobs after their retirement, but are unsuccessful in finding one.

This study also shows that involuntary retirement as a result of organizational pressures results in a decline in well-being after retirement. For these retirees, returning to paid work – even when it is in a small part-time job – appeared to mitigate this negative drop in well-being. Nonetheless, re-entry into the labour force is difficult for involuntary retirees, since it frequently happens that their search for a new job is not successful.