Akava members show signs they are willing to retire later

Members of the trade union confederation Akava are prepared to remain longer in working life than before. This is revealed in the latest survey commissioned by Akava and conducted by TNS Gallup. 

Akava has been examining attitudes towards retirement among its members for some time now. Surveys aimed at sounding out members as to where they stand on this issue have been carried out in 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, is a trade union confederation for those with university, professional or other higher-level educational qualifications. Together, Akava’s 35 affiliates have unionised more than half a million employees and professionals.

The planned age for retirement has been moving steadily upward among Akava members. Right now it stands at 63.9 years. There has been a 0.7 year trajectory since 2010. And from 2007 the increase has been 2.7 years. The survey was based on the whole working population and on average the planned retirement age among non-Akava members was exactly 63 years. 

Even though the readiness to work longer than before has been on the rise 65 per cent of Akava members and 75 per cent of other wage and salary earners are unwilling to accept that the minimum old-age retirement age should be raised to 65 years. More women than men are opposed to any change.

In Finland the earnings-related retirement age is currently flexible between the ages of 63 and 68 years.

For one out of three Akava members the lowest earnings-related retirement age 63 seems not to be a goal, they are planning to work longer. One out of ten is planning to work after they've turned 65.

"The discussion concerning the lengthening of a working career has clearly confused wage and salary earners", says Akava director Pekka Piispanen. "They are ready to work beyond the age of 63 but a forced retirement later on makes many afraid."

How to manage longer?

The survey also asked how people would manage in a longer working life. Almost everyone (95 per cent of Akava members and 92 per cent of others) mentioned the possibility to influence one's own work as the key issue. 92 per cent of Akava members and 87 per cent of others said more flexible working hours would help.
A secure job was mentioned by 89 per cent of Akava members and 89 per cent of others. 87 per cent of Akava members and 85 per cent others said better management would help.

The differences between Akava members and others were actually rather insignificant. Akava members were more inclined towards part-time work or part-time retirement as an incentive to working longer. Others pinned their hopes on better salary and better rehabilitation possibilities.

"On the basis of the answers received one can draw the conclusion that improvements in working life for those over 50 years of age could serve to extend their working careers. When making decisions on reforms to the pension system it is extremely important to remember that just raising the retirement age on its own will not solve work career and retirement problems. This is especially the case with highly educated wage earners that do mentally demanding work and more weekly overtime", Piispanen says.

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