Increasing the public pension age: Employers’ concerns and policy preferences

Hendrik Peter van Dalen, C.J.I.M. Henkens, Jaap Oude Mulders

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Governments increasingly focus on extending working lives by raising public pension ages and in some cases by linking pension ages to changes in the life expectancy. This study offers novel insights into how employers perceive such reforms and their consequences for their organization. A survey among employers (N = 1,208) has been carried out in 2017 to examine their reactions to a recent pension reform in the Netherlands. Statistical analyses are performed to examine employers’ support for the current policy of linking the public pension age to changes in average life expectancy, as well as the support for 2 alternative policies that are often considered in public policy debates: a flexible public pension age; and a lower public pension age for workers in physically demanding jobs. Results show that particularly employers in construction and industry are extremely concerned about the physical capability of employees to keep on working until the public pension age. These concerns are the driving forces behind the lack of support for linking public pension ages to changes in average life expectancy (22% support) and the overwhelming support for a lower public pension age for physically demanding jobs (82%). The introduction of a flexible pension age (78% support) is not firmly related to employers’ concerns about capability or employability of older workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
JournalWork Aging and Retirement
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Public pension age
  • Life Expectancy
  • Employers
  • Pension
  • Older workers


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