Ny kunnskap om aldring og arbeid
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The report presents new knowledge about ageing and work, older workers, and retirement. On two earlier occasions NOVA has produced state of the art publications on ageing and work (Solem 2001, 2007a) for the Centre for Senior Policy, which is also financing the present report. Much of the information included in the two earlier reports is still applicable. Yet, both working life, pension schemes and ageing have changed over the last decade. On the international scene, the financial crisis started in September 2008. Norway was affected, but for a shorter period and to a lesser extent than many other countries. On the national scene, the tripartite Agreement on a More Inclusive Working Life (the IA-agreement) which came into effect in 2001, was renewed in 2006, and again in 2009 when the target for employment of older workers was defined more precisely; an average of six months later retirement by 2013. And not least, the comprehensive work on a national pension reform was initiated in 2001, and was put into operation from 2011. The pension reform intends, by financial incentives, to incite senior workers to postpone retirement, while the IA-agreement employs measures in working life to achieve the same goal. All this is expected to influence the position of older workers on the labour market. In chapter 1, increases in the employment rates of older workers, particularly among workers above 65 (men) and 55 (women), and all through the financial crisis, are reported. For young groups employment has decreased somewhat since 2008. A possible explanation for the increased employment rates among older workers is that the policy promoting later retirement has had some effects, even prior to the implementation of the pension reform. On the international scene, possible effects of such policy are seen in New Zealand where the mandatory retirement age was raised to 65 years in 1991 and finally abolished in 1999. Employment in the age group 65–69 years is tripled over the period to 2011 (Ministry of Social Development 2012). Compared to other countries Norway has a high employment rate among older workers, but was surpassed by New Zealand around 2005. Physical and ergonomic work environments are often better among older workers than among younger workers. This may partly be due to selective attrition (the healthy worker effect) and partly an effect of adaptions and shifts to less exposed jobs with age. Older workers seem to encounter less demands at work, but also to receive less support and feedback from their supervisor. They participate less in training and see less opportunity for learning new things at work. As opportunities for learning may contribute to maintained work ability (Solem 2008a), measures to include older workers in training and learning may contribute to improved work ability. To increase employment among older workers, the main causes of early and late retirement have to be assessed. In chapter 2, the five following factors are discussed; push, pull, jump, stay and stuck factors (Kohli & Rein 1991, Snartland & Øverbye 2003, Jensen 2005). The push factors are the negative aspects of the labour market, work environment and work organisation that surface e.g. when putting too heavy demands on the workers and exposing them to harmful conditions, thus serving to expel older workers. These negative aspects may be counteracted by preventive environment, health and safety measures (EHS) at the workplace. The pull factors are represented by attractive pensions pulling seniors out of the labour market. However, the implementation of incentives for continuing working will serve to counteract the pull factors. The jump factors, such as attractive leasure activities, voluntary work, family obligations, may tempt seniors to «jump» out of work. Such factors are hard to affect by direct policy measures, other than by improving the relative value of work. The stay factors are the qualities of the work that attaches the worker to the job. Improving the work content, more interesting tasks and better pay may reinforce the stay factors. The fifth type; the stuck factors are for instance poor pension rights, high debts or responsibility for children that glue the worker to a job because he or she needs the income. A pension system with strong incentives for late retirement may have the side effect of forcing for instance tired old workers or women with interrupted careers, to remain in the labour market up at high ages. Measures to delay retirement should take different forms in different phases of the career. Preventive measures are important all through the career. Adaptions and alleviations are mainly relevant in the senior years from about 50 or 55, while financial and social incentives are central when the option to choose retirement is approaching, in Norway mostly at the age of 62 (Salomon & Hilsen 2011). In addition, in the senior years and all the way until retirement it is vital to invest in training of older workers. In senior policy there is a dilemma between alleviations to fit deficits of older workers on the one side and on the other side to give even older workers new challenges, training and demands. Most often the scale pan is probably tilting towards alleviations, due to the prevalent negative stereotypes about ageing. Good health and work ability facilitate employment at high ages. However, work ability and work performance are two different qualities. Work performance may improve or be intact even when work ability decreases. In chapter 3 the consequences of poor health and decreased work ability on employment are discussed as related to the type of job and the type and degree of health problems. Managers show a less positive attitude towards «older» or «senior» applicants to jobs, than to «young» and «experienced» applicants, and they hesitate to call in for interview applicants in their late fifties. This is based on analyses of the Norwegian Senior Policy Barometer, which have collected data yearly from national representative samples, starting in 2003. One sample consists of 750 managers and the other includes 1000 employed persons. Managers in the public sector are more positive towards older workers than managers in the private sector. Age discrimination is one type of negative behaviour towards older workers. The prevalence is hard to establish. Age discrimination has been illegal in Norway since 2004, but many workers are of the opinion that it takes place. About 4–5 percent indicate that they have been exposed to age discrimination in working life themselves. In a European comparison Norway is in the better half of the distribution concerning the prevalence of age discrimination (Eurobarometer 2012). The financial crisis seems to have reduced the managers’ interest in older workers, as part of a general decrease in the interest in recruiting labour. The negative market trend is obviously not encouraging recruitment of new labour. Yet, seniors could, both before and after the onset of the financial crisis, well imagine continuing working beyond the eligibility date for pension. Their increasing interest in continuing working seems unaffected by the crisis. Six out of ten senior workers, 50 years and over, could in 2011 well imagine continuing to work, as compared to four out of ten in 2003. In the fifth and final chapter the retirement process, which usually takes place between the ages of 62 and 70 years, is explored. The pension reform, effective from 2011, gives better options for choosing the time of retirement and also for taking out a pension while still working. Picking the best time for taking out a pension is complicated, since a lot of aspects have to be considered, and some of the future conditions are not very predictable. For instance, the time left to live is fairly unpredictable, and the time of death may have serious consequences for the pension sum received. Research indicates that it is common to expect to live shorter than the average and with earlier onset of infirmity than the average (Brown & Vickerstaff 2001, O’Donnell et al. 2008). This so-called health pessimism motivates seniors to take out their pensions early at the cost of receiving a lower pension each year. The process of retiring was probably more difficult some decades ago. The change from worker to retiree was more abrupt, with less individual control over the process, and pensions were lower. However, when health problems are the cause of retiring, adapting to the life as a retiree is often challenging. Retirement may also affect the health conditions, but research shows inconsistent results concerning the direction; whether retirement has a positive or a negative effect on health. Retirement from work is followed by only small changes in activities outside working life, except for spending more time on activities in the home; meals, housework, reading newspapers and watching TV. Those who remain employed at high ages often use less time than before on housework. Thus, housework seems to be a kind of buffer, expanding when paid work vanishes and contracting when paid work is maintained at old age. However, to keep up with the job, seniors may have to rest more at home to recover than they needed a few years earlier.Hensikten med denne rapporten er å formidle oppdatert kunnskap om eldre i arbeidslivet og om pensjonering. Rapporten legger fram kunnskap, men diskuterer også spørsmål som ikke nødvendigvis har klare svar i dag. Skal en satse mest på lettelser eller nye utfordringer for seniorer i arbeidslivet? Utvikling av både mentale og fysiske evner er mulig opp i høy alder, og ofte setter våre forestillinger om alderssvekkelser unødvendige grenser for utviklingen. Selv om arbeidsevnen kan svekkes med alderen, synes arbeids-prestasjonene å være mindre berørt av alder. Mange ledere har en negativ følelsesmessig beredskap mot å ansette eldre arbeidskraft, og de nøler med å innkalle jobbsøkere i slutten av femtiårene til intervju. Ledere i offentlig sektor er mer positive til eldre arbeidskraft enn ledere i privat sektor. Rapporten diskuterer også mulige effekter av pensjonsreformen og hvordan aktivitet og deltakelse i samfunnet endrer seg etter pensjonering.