Inequalities in employment rates among older men and women in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK

In most developed countries, governments are implementing policies encouraging older persons to work past 65 years to reduce the burden on societies related to disability benefits and pension payments. Despite this push to extend working lives, we know little about who already works past this age and any inequalities that may exist. Our study investigates the employment rates of those aged 65–75 years of age by educational level, health status and sex in Canada (CAN), Denmark (DK), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

Secondly, we aim to relate findings on employment rates to prevailing policies in the different countries, to increase the understanding on how to further extend working lives. Our results suggest that educational level, sex and health all play a role in extending working lives. The variation in employment rates between the four countries implies that policies do matter, but that social differentials show that policies cannot be ‘one size fits all’. Policy-makers must consider different groups when designing policies to extend working lives.We propose further questions for consideration by policy-makers when designing policies to extend working life. For example, are ‘flexicurity’ policies–strong social security and weak employment protection–effective at older ages?


Author(s) A. McAllister, L. Bentley, H. Brønnum-Hansen, N.K. Jensen, L. Nylen, I. Andersen, Q. Liao, T. Bodin, C. Mustard, B. Burström
Language English
Year of publication Mar, 2019
Journal BMC Public Health
Volume 2019
Page(s) 1-11
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