Women Must and Men Can: Paid Work during Retirement in Germany

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Claudia VOGEL, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany
Heribert ENGSTLER, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany
Laura ROMEU GORDO, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany
Poverty in old age has increased in Germany in the last 10 years and is expected to grow even more the next decades due to both, cutbacks in the generosity of the public pension system and changes in employment biographies that become more discontinuous and precarious. At the same time employment participation during retirement has been increasing from 5,1 percent in 1996 to 11,6 percent in 2014 as findings from the German Ageing Survey (Deutscher Alterssurvey DEAS) show. These both trends have motivated the debate whether retirees work because they choose to do so or whether the participation is provoked by financial reasons in a context of increasing poverty.

Further, the question raises whether the determinants of employment participation at older ages differ between genders. Employment biographies of retired women in Germany differ substantially from those of men, characterized by higher and longer employment breaks and lower earnings. As a result, their financial situation after retirement is more precarious, especially if they live alone. Since decades, the poverty rates for older women (65+) are higher than for older men (e.g. 18,3 percent versus 14,5 percent in the year 2015, rates provided by the Federal Statistical Office).

Using data from the German Ageing Survey (DEAS), we investigate which are the factors determining employment participation during retirement and employment income in old age, with the focus on income poverty and gender differences. We expect the financial situation after retirement to play a more important role for women than for men. However, employment income in paid work during retirement does not seem to be helpful to alleviate poverty.