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Two out of five Swiss aged 50+ want to work past retirement age

Labour participation of the 60+ age group is lower in Switzerland than in OECD countries. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Many Swiss over 50 years old retire early or are deterred from working past the retirement age because of a lack of financial incentives and part-time job opportunities.

This is according to the latest study on the ageing workforceExternal link in Switzerland by the consulting firm Deloitte. It found that 66% of the 1,000 respondents who are already retired were unable to continue working. Of this group, 46% would have liked to do so – equivalent to almost one third (30%) of all people already receiving their pension.

Many Swiss also retire early. The Swiss Federal Statistical Office indicates that 12% of employed men aged 60 take early retirement, rising to 29% of 63-year-olds and more than 40% of 64-year-olds.

Not surprisingly labour market participation among the 60+ age group is considerably lower in Switzerland (23%) than in other countries (OECD average 27%).

Engaging older workers, who would like to work longer, could help fill the labour shortfall, which Swiss bank UBS estimates could reach 500,000 workers by 2030.

“Our study shows that a good part of the 50+ age group is clearly willing to continue work beyond the statutory retirement age,” says Michael Grampp, chief economist at Deloitte Switzerland and co-author of the study.

“This is good news for the Swiss economy. If this potential were fully tapped, it could substantially correct the worsening imbalance between those entering and leaving the labour market and relieve pressure on the social security system.”

Lack of incentives

Older employees often stop working voluntarily but some feel forced into early retirement. Overall, 25% of those taking early retirement report that their decision was not entirely voluntary. Many survey respondents indicated that they want to work part-time but often don’t find job opportunities.

The study notes other obstacles to engaging older workers including employees’ mindsets and incentives. For example, employees that work beyond retirement age continue to pay contributions to the state old-age pension scheme (AHV/AVS) but gain no benefit in terms of a larger pension when they do retire.

The findings are based primarily on a survey carried out in June of 1,000 individuals aged between 50 and 70 living in Switzerland. More than 20 face-to-face interviews were also conducted with managers from large Swiss companies and experts from cantonal and national agencies and associations.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR