Inequalities in extending working lives beyond age 60 in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and England-By gender, level of education and health

Ashley McAllister, Theo Bodin, Henrik Brønnum-Hansen, Lisa Harber-Aschan, Ben Barr, Lee Bentley, Qing Liao, Natasja Koitzsch Jensen, Ingelise Andersen, Wen-Hao Chen, Karsten Thielen, Cameron Mustard, Finn Diderichsen, Margaret Whitehead, Bo Burström


BACKGROUND: Keeping older workers in employment is critical for societies facing the challenge of an ageing population. This study examined the association between types of health conditions and differentials in the probability of employment by level of education among men and women between 60-69 years of age in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and England.

METHODS: Data were drawn from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We combined country data, applied logistic regression, adjusted for educational level, and stratified the analysis by sex to calculate the odds ratio (OR) of employment (>15 hours work per week) for persons with physical health conditions, mental health conditions (depression) and physical-mental health comorbidity.

RESULTS: The odds of employment among men and women with physical-mental health comorbidity were lower compared to those with no/other conditions (men: OR 0.32, 95% CI: 0.25-0.42, women: OR 0.38 95% CI: 0.30-0.48). Women with low education had lower odds of employment compared to their counterparts with high education (OR 0.66, 95% CI: 0.57-0.76). The odds of employment at older ages was lower in Canada, Denmark and England compared with Sweden (e.g. English men: OR 0.48 95% CI 0.40-0.58; English women OR 0.33 95% CI 0.27-0.41).

CONCLUSIONS: The odds of employment beyond age 60 is lower for groups with low education, particularly women, and those with physical-mental health co-morbidities. As such, policies to extend working lives should not be 'one size fits all' but instead consider subgroups, in particular, these groups that we have shown to be most vulnerable on the labour market.

TidsskriftPLoS One
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)e0234900
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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