Trapped in ‘Involuntary’ Work in the Late Career? Retirement Expectations versus the ‘Desire to Retire’ in Estonia

Kristina Lindemann, Marge Unt


In light of recent policies aiming to promote the prolongation of working life, one of the key questions is how people have adjusted their retirement expectations (i.e., realistic plans) and preferences (i.e., wishes and desires). We explore which social groups plan to continue working after the statutory retirement age, and whether they wish to do it or whether it is a forced choice (‘involuntary’ work). Overall, almost all employed late career workers plan to work until or beyond retirement age in Estonia, especially men and those who have more educational and health resources. Still, results of a joint analysis of plans and wishes indicate that two groups have a higher risk of ‘involuntary’ work. First, a higher education combined with a low job satisfaction predicts staying longer in the labour despite the wish to retire as early as possible. Second, individuals who have poor health and a low job satisfaction often wish to retire as early as possible but stay in the labour market until reaching to the compulsory retirement age. Thus, policy measures increasing merely the statutory retirement age create tensions, especially among those not satisfied with their jobs. More analytical work and policy measures are needed to provide solutions at the workplace level that would enable a prolonged work career.



Estonia, late career workers, retirement expectations, retirement preferences, transition to retirement

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