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Publié le
Lundi 22 Mai 2023
Any pension reform emphasizes the issue of older workers’ employment (55 to 64 years old). A figure comes into play : each year, about 30% of older workers leaving their job are not immediately retired. These early exits from employment, excluding retirement and pre-retirement, are due to three main causes: health reasons, unemployment and inactivity.


While this phenomenon is well known, a precise analysis by occupations was not yet available. The magnitude of these early exits is actually very heterogeneous: range from more than four out of ten in some occupations, to one out of ten at the lower end of the spectrum. Occupations with the most significant impact are accommodation and catering (multi-skilled workers, cooks), construction (finishing and structural work), services to individuals and community services (personal services, cleaners and helpers) and handling. The main causes of these exits from employment are diverse: it is health for 30% of cashiers and self-service employees, inactivity for one out of five skilled handlers.  Amongst the fifteen occupations with the highest early exits rates, ten are also those where workers claim they "do not feel capable of doing the same work until they retire".

As for unemployment and inactivity, early exits not fully related to  socio-occupational categories. On the other hand, employees and low-skilled workers are over-represented in health-related early exits from employment. The harsh working conditions play a part here, but the correlation remains moderate (0.6): the proportion of such exits is 8% among skilled mechanical workers, compared to 31% among low-skilled material handlers, two occupations with harsh working conditions. Improving working conditions remains one way to increase the employment rate and to reduce recruitment difficulties in occupations combining early health-related exits and difficult working conditions.


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Jean Flamand
Type d'image: 
Travail, emploi, compétences