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Working Instead of Retiring: Increasing Number of Retirement-Aged People Still in Employment

Press Release of February 6, 2013

Between 2001 and 2011, the number of retirement-aged people in Germany still in employment approximately doubled to almost 760,000. The over-65 age group rose faster than any other in the workforce during this period. DIW Berlin has examined the employment situation of older workers in Germany in an attempt to find the underlying causes of this sharp increase. The results: the reason for this significant increase is primarily the changing labor market behavior of older people, rather than demographic factors. Half of them have been self-employed or helping with family businesses; no other group has such a high percentage of self-employed workers. In the majority of cases, those who are employed work part-time, such as in "mini-jobs"; the self-employed often work full-time. In 2001, elementary occupations accounted for the largest group of employed people aged over 65, but in 2011, the largest group was academic professionals. Overall, the qualification structure of older people was no worse than that of younger workers. The monthly household income of workers of retirement age is on average only slightly lower than that of other workers. In many cases, it does not seem to be financial hardship that drives over-65-year-olds to stay in work: even without their earnings, the vast majority of workers of retirement age (easily two-thirds) would receive a monthly household income above the level considered to be a "poverty risk." On average, the working elderly are more satisfied than their non-working peers, which applies to health, income, and life in general.


  • Wochenbericht 6/2013 (PDF, 358.04 KB)
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