Gendered retirement pathways across lifecourse regimes

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This study analyses data on 1600 women and 1100 men over a 12-year period in 11 countries to assess the influence of institutional and individual factors on retirement decisions in different settings.

It finds the retirement pathways of both men and women vary within and between welfare regimes and that they are not uniformly ‘gendered.’

For example, women in Mediterranean countries are less likely to be in employment when they reach retirement age than women in other countries. However, when they are in the labour market, they are less likely than their male counterparts to take early retirement. In Nordic countries, meanwhile, men are twice as likely as women to extend their working lives beyond full retirement age.

In fact, women in Nordic countries are almost three times as likely to retire before reaching pensionable age as their English counterparts, whereas there is no observable difference in the early retirement rates of men in these countries. One possible explanation is that Nordic women are more likely to have a history of continuous employment and therefore to be able to afford early retirement.

The study also finds the influence of individual characteristics such as education, health and marital status on retirement pathways varies between societal contexts. It finds, for example, that the influence of education on retirement pathways is also variable: although being highly educated is generally associated with working beyond pension age, this varies by context and by gender.