The Employment and Retirement Transitions of New Zealanders Aged in their 60s: Evidence from LEED

The Employment and Retirement Transitions of New Z…
01 May 2008

This study describes the employment patterns and work-to-retirement transitions of New Zealanders who were who were born between 1 April 1936 and 31 March 1940 and aged in their 60s during the 1999–2007 period, using longitudinal data from the Linked Employer-Employee Dataset.

The study has two main parts. The first part provides an overview of the employment rates and income support patterns of the study population, identifying the main changes that occurred with increasing age, for men and women and for different birth cohorts. This is designed to provide general insights into the employment activity of New Zealanders aged in their 60s, using a data source that has different strengths from the data sources previously available.

The second part describes the employment patterns and transitions of the study population. This section is intended to shed light on the types of employment pattern that were ‘typical’ of workers aged in their 60s during 1999-2007. It gives particular attention to the question of whether traditional or phased transitions from work to retirement were more common.

The employment rate of the study population declined gradually with each month and year of age, from 60 to 69. There was a sharper fall in the employment rate at 65 years, due to a greater number of people leaving work at this age. The aggregate wage employment rate of men fell by 3.1 percentage points at 65 years, while that of women fell by 1.7 percentage points. Overall, most people did not stop working at their 65th birthday: rather, they stopped working at a wide range of ages.

The employment patterns and work histories of study population members were diverse. The majority made at least one transition out of employment prior to their final exit. Among those who continued to work into their mid to late 60s, part-year and parttime employment became increasingly common. Phased transitions from work to retirement were more common than ‘traditional’ retirements involving a single and permanent transition from full-time employment to inactivity. 

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