Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants fewer people to retire before they reach the statutory retirement age. "It is important to increase the proportion of those who can really work until retirement age. That is difficult for many today," said the SPD politician to the newspapers of the Funke media group and the French newspaper "Ouest-France" (Sunday).
The Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) presented figures on Saturday showing that people in Germany are increasingly retiring early. According to this, many leave the labor market at the age of 63 or 64 - well before the standard retirement age. The institute in Wiesbaden announced that the rapid increase in the employment rate among the over 60-year-olds, which was observed at the beginning of the millennium, has largely come to a standstill in the past five years.
One reason for this is the "pension at 63", i.e. the possibility of early retirement without deductions for people who have 45 insurance years, which has existed since 2014. In the legislative process at that time, 200,000 to 240,000 of these pension applications per year had been assumed. According to information from the German pension insurance in November, almost 270,000 new pensioners used the deduction-free route last year. That was 26.3 percent of all new pensions.
Discounts are not an obstacle
In addition, according to the BiB, more and more people are retiring before the standard retirement age and are accepting reductions in the amount of their pension. This group makes up about a quarter of all those who will draw an old-age pension for the first time in 2021. On average, they retired almost 28 months before the standard retirement age.
The institute states that between 2000 and 2015 the employment rate among 60 to 64-year-old men more than doubled. There was even a fourfold increase in women of the same age. According to the information, this trend was determined by people born between 1940 and 1950. Currently, however, the baby boomers born in the 1950s are retiring. The BiB continues to write that the premature exit from working life increases the lack of experienced and qualified workers.
What comes after the baby boomer generation?
According to the experts, the development of the younger "baby boomers" born after 1960, who are about to retire, is still open. On the one hand, the age limits also increased for long-term insured persons. On the other hand, it is difficult to assess the extent to which they will accept deductions for early retirement. In Germany, the retirement age will gradually increase from 65 to 67 by 2029. For those who were born in 1964 or later, a standard retirement age of 67 will apply in future.
The figures show that the expansion of employment into older age is not a sure-fire success, said Elke Loichinger, research group leader at the BiB, summing up the developments. To keep workers longer in the labor force, incentives would need to be in place well before retirement. "Once retirement has taken place, only a few return to work," emphasized Loichinger.
In order to counteract the shortage of skilled workers, Chancellor Scholz also sees "potential for increasing" the proportion of women in the labor market. "But for that to work, we have to expand all-day offers in crèches, daycare centers and schools," he told the newspapers. In addition, easier immigration should ensure more workers. "We can absorb some things by creating better starting opportunities for young people and investing in vocational training and further education," said the Chancellor. "And we will also need immigration from other countries to ensure our prosperity."