Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN01_03a: Work and Retirement
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Andreas Mergenthaler, Federal Institute for Population Research
Location: UP.3.204
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road

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Ageing Baby-boomers, Housing Wealth and Retirement Trajectories

Misa Izuhara1, Ray Forrest2

1University of Bristol, United Kingdom; 2Lingnan University Hong Kong

This paper examines the interconnections between housing wealth, returns to education and retirement trajectories of the ageing baby-boomer generation. In particular, it explores the substantial, unprecedented but highly uneven pattern of housing wealth accumulation enjoyed by the post-war ‘generation own’. There is also a positive and systematic relationship between income levels and levels of housing wealth across this generation. These new relationships between the length of the earning working life, income, education and housing wealth are assuming progressively greater importance with societal ageing signalling growing inequalities within older cohorts and their differentiated patterns into retirement.

By bringing housing wealth more fully into the equation, this paper attempts to go beyond conventional indicators of income, qualification and nominal retirement age to analyse retirement inequalities. Drawing on data from the UK census, governments surveys and other secondary sources as well as setting in the context of trends in other home-owning societies, it examines these relationships via three contrasting ‘biographies’ of the post-war baby-boomers: ‘Equity rich intelligentsia’ (highly-educated older individuals who own multiple properties and work longer in the knowledge economy), ‘Moderate equity retired’ (retired early and using housing equity to meet welfare need in old age) and ‘Equity poor workers’ (less-qualified homeowners with mortgage debts who continue to work for financial necessity). In doing so, it offers new perspectives on processes of social stratification and the widening of inequalities in contemporary Europe.

Ageing Migrants, Gender and Retirement: The Case of Portuguese in Switzerland

Liliana Azevedo

ISCTE-IUL, Portugal; NCCR - ON THE MOVE, Switzerland

Switzerland became a major destination for Portuguese migrants in the 1980’s. A significant number lived their entire professional life there and are now reaching retirement age. According to official records, most of them returned to their home country, and only a small proportion grow old in place after retirement. Their pensions are generally not very high, due to their position in the Swiss labor market and to partial contributory careers. Consequently, ageing in place means material insecurity for a large number. On the other hand, the return migration might mean poor access to healthcare and other facilities, especially at a more vulnerable and needy age.

In this communication, I will present some data from the cross-national empirical on-going research on Portuguese migrants in Switzerland that are retired or will be retired soon. Based on in-depth interviews conducted up to now both in Switzerland (with migrants settled there) and in Portugal (with migrants that returned), I will focus on the gender differences along migrants’ life course (i.e. professional insertion, language possession) and in the return decision, but also on gender asymmetries in the transition to retirement and in post-retirement (i.e. pensions, occupation, health issues). I will conclude pointing out some challenges that this ageing population represents to both countries.

Explaining Differences in Late and Uncertain Retirement Preferences between the Solo Self-employed and Employees: The Role of Job Characteristics

Marleen Damman1,2, Dieuwke Zwier1, Swenne G. van den Heuvel3

1Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), The Hague, The Netherlands; 2University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, The Netherlands; 3Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Hoofddorp, The Netherlands

Objectives: Previous research has shown that self-employed workers are more likely than employees to retire late or to be uncertain about retirement timing. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. This study aims to fill this gap, by focusing on the explanatory role of various job characteristics – flexibility, autonomy, skills-job match, and job security – for explaining differences in retirement preferences between the solo self-employed and employees.

Methods: Data were selected of 8,343 employees and 665 solo self-employed respondents (age 45-64) in the Netherlands, who participated in the Study on Transitions in Employment, Ability and Motivation (STREAM) in 2016. The outcome variable distinguished between early, on-time, late, and uncertain retirement preferences. Multinomial logistic regression models were estimated, and mediation was tested using the Karlson-Holm-Breen (KHB) method.

Results: The solo self-employed are more likely than employees to prefer late retirement (vs. “on-time”) and to be uncertain about their preferred retirement age. Job characteristics mediate 23 percent of the relationship between solo self-employment and late retirement preferences: the self-employed experience more possibilities than employees to work from home and to choose their own working times, which partly explains why they prefer to retire late.

Conclusion: In discussions about retirement, often reference is made to differences in retirement savings and retirement regulations between the solo self-employed and employees. The current study shows that differences in job characteristics also partly explain the relatively late preferred retirement timing of solo self-employed workers.

What Drives Pensioners’ Transnational Mobilities? The Swiss Case

Eric A. Crettaz1, Mihaela Nedelcu2, Claudio Bolzman1

1University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, Switzerland; 2University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

As health and life expectancy have improved markedly over the last decades, various mobility and migration patterns have emerged among pensioners in postindustrial societies. The study of international post-retirement mobilities have mostly viewed this phenomenon through the lens of the “snow birds” phenomenon. Yet, these mobilities have dramatically diversified, although their complexity has rarely been investigated as such.

Based on a study conducted through a mix-method approach, we will analyze the multiple forms of post-retirement mobilities and their drivers, focusing on four main categories of factors: a) institutional factors (health and care systems, migration regimes, …); b) relationships, social ties and networks; c) previous migratory and mobility experiences; and d) individual wellbeing expectations and care needs. We will put in evidence different mobility patterns of pensioners residing in Switzerland, whatever their nationality and country of birth. The Swiss case is interesting for different reasons: it has the second highest share of foreign-born population among OECD countries (behind Luxembourg), and most EU laws and rules apply to it through a large range of bilateral agreements.

Our results show that post-retirement mobilities are much more diverse than the “snow bird” pattern. Reasons like accessing less expensive healthcare systems and cheaper products, spending holidays, going to cultural activities (museums, concerts, …), and doing charity work, drive short-term international mobilities. Long sojourns and residence abroad are driven by family relationships, cultural immersion, or economic/professional reasons. We argue that retirees develop transnational mobility patterns dependent on various combinations of the four types of factors mentioned above.

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