Factors influencing the decision to extend working life or retire

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 Nov;37(6):473-80. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3181. Epub 2011 Jul 2.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate factors within nine identified areas that influence why some older workers want to (or believe they can) work until age 65 years or beyond, whereas others leave the workforce earlier.

Methods: The questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study included 1792 respondents aged 55-64 years, employed in the healthcare sector in Sweden. Using logistic regression, we investigated the associations between statements within nine areas and two outcome measures: (i) whether the individual wanted to work until age 65 years or beyond and (ii) whether the individual believed they can work until age 65 years or beyond.

Results: Of the 1792 respondents, 54% stated that they "can" and 38% that they "want to" work until age 65 years or beyond. Three areas were significantly associated with both these outcomes: worker health, economic incentives, and retirement decisions by life partners or close friends. Mental and physical working environment, work pace and skills/competence were associated with the "can" outcome, whereas work as an important part of life, working time, and management attitude to older workers were associated with the "want to" outcome.

Conclusion: Although there were differences regarding the associations between six of the areas and the two outcomes (ie, "can" and "want to" go on working until age 65 years or beyond), three of the areas were important to both outcomes. Among those, it was interesting that life partner or close social environment gave higher odds ratios than for example health, physical work environment, or work satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Employment*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retirement*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden