Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Paper 1: Working conditions

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Population ageing in Western countries has made delayed retirement and extended working life a policy priority in recent years. Retirement timing has been linked to individual factors such as health and wealth, but less is known about the role of the psychosocial work environment. This paper drew upon longitudinal data on 3462 workers aged 50-69 from five waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Regression models were used to assess the association of working conditions with preferred timing of retirement and actual work exit. Adjusting for a range of covariates, job demands (aspects of the job requiring sustained physical or psychological effort) were associated with preferences for earlier retirement (by 0.18 years; 95 % C.I. 0.06, 0.31). Decision authority was associated with preferences for later retirement (by 0.38 years; 95 % C.I. 0.23, 0.53) and reduced odds of work exit (OR = 0.93; 95 % C.I. 0.88, 0.97). Low recognition at work was associated with increased odds of work exit (OR = 1.23; 95 % C.I. 1.10, 1.43). There was little evidence of any interactive relationship between demands and resources. Efforts to extend working life should address issues relating to the immediate psychosocial work environment. Providing older workers with increased sense of control, and ensuring contributions are adequately recognised, may delay retirement intentions and the timing of labour market exit.

Read the full paper here: European Journal of Ageing