Approximately 1,000 Finns from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and varying in age from 15 to 79 were asked the question: "What is the appropriate age to retire?"
The majority replied in favour of raising the official retirement age to 65 in the Taloustutkimus Research survey carried out for Yle.
Raising the retirement age was supported by professionals, the well-educated, those who work in senior management and business people. Those with physically-taxing occupations felt that the retirement age could be lower. Currently, 63 is the official (and average) retirement age in Finland.
More than half of those surveyed would place the official retirement age at 63, 64 or 65. One fourth responded that it should be lower than these ages.
Finnish Centre for Pensions special researcher Noora Järnefelt says these findings illustrate that there is growing pressure to raise the official retirement age in Finland. Nonetheless Järnefelt says: “I was somewhat surprised that Finns have such a positive attitude toward raising the retirement age.”
According to Järnefelt, the survey's findings are not presenting new information. She says it has long been known that those who do very physically demanding or repetitive work support earlier retirement than those who have more freedom and flexibility in their work.
“The well-educated often want to continue working longer because their career situation is such that they enjoy what they do for a living,” says Järnefelt.
Political allegiances affect whether respondents support raising or lowering the retirement age. Those who support raising the retirement age said that they voted for the National Coalition Party or the Green League in the most recent elections, whereas those who would like to lower the retirement age said that they voted for the Finns Party.
Young people support a higher retirement age than those who are over 35 years of age. However, as retirement age approaches, this trend reverses. According to Statistics Finland, the desire to continue working after 63 has been a growing trend since 2003. In Statistics Finland's surveys, when respondents who are over 50 are asked to estimate when they will retire, the closer the respondent is to age 63, the more likely they will respond that they would like to continue working and postpone retiring.