social sciences

An Eastern European would retire two years earlier than their Western colleague


Achieving this goal would require, among other things, raising the retirement age in all Member States. But are people who are approaching old age satisfied with the retirement age that has been set by the state, or would they like to begin enjoying their retirement under a palm tree at an earlier age?

Estonian sociologist Ave Roots, in cooperation with her Aalborg University colleague Wouter De Tavernier, studied the 2010 European Social Survey data set. They did so using the positions of residents of European Union Member States in association with retirement. The sample included 4500 working people between the ages of 50 and 69.

They discovered that a difference of opinion exists in Eastern and Western Europe regarding retirement.

Eastern European women would like to retire, on average, two years earlier than men. In Western Europe, the fairer sex would like to enjoy the fruits of their pension six months sooner than the men of their region.

‘This may be a consequence of the fact that in Eastern European countries the official retirement age is dependent on gender,’ explained Tavernier and Roots in their article.

In Eastern Europe, people would like to retire 27 months sooner than Western Europeans. In Eastern Europe, satisfaction with work is associated with income and also how important a person considers work to be; while in Western Europe, satisfaction with work is associated with greater well-being.

Social scientists also noted the exciting discovery of a nuance, in which Western European workers who are able to actively participate in processes related to their working life and the organisation thereof would like to retire a year later than workers in passive positions.

Thus, for example, an employee who works on the cake line in a factory bakery – who applies frosting to cakes from morning to night – sees themselves spending time in their country home with their grandchildren sooner than the manager of the same plant, who has the power to decide which new cake is placed into production.

Geidi Raud prepared the summary of the article by Wouter de Tavernier and Ave Roots “When Do People Want to Retire? The Preferred Retirement Age Gap between Eastern and Western Europe Explained” published in the journal Studies of Transition States and Societies.

The translation of this article from Estonian Public Broadcasting science news portal Novaator was funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Estonian Research Council

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