Age at retirement by educational background in Nordic countries

The labour force in Nordic countries will change over the next few years. Absent additional pension policy changes, a majority of working persons age 50 and older will retire by 2020. Average retirement age varies by educational level, field of study and country. Persons with a post-secondary education tend to retire older than persons with a secondary education. Denmark and Finland have lower actual retirement ages than Sweden or Norway, roughly a year and a half lower for men and two years lower for women. Because of rising educational levels, actual retirement age will likely rise even absent additional policy changes. Because retirement lower in Denmark and Finland than in Sweden or Norway, there appears to be more ‘room’ in the former countries to influence retirement age via policy. There is also more ‘room’ to close the gender gap in average retirement age in Denmark than in other countries. The decision to retire is affected by many factors, one of which is educational background. This report focuses on the education dimension, showing how retirement age has varied in recent years and how such changes will affect the size of the labour force in the near future.