Participation in, and unsuccessful searches for, bridge employment: the case of Dutch retirees

Ellen Dingemans, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Kène Henkens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Hanna van Solinge, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Empirical studies on the predictors of bridge employment often focus on the actual behavior, thereby neglecting the fact that some retirees may not be successful in finding a bridge job. This study aims to improve the understanding of the social forces that potentially sift and sort people into and out of the work force after retirement. We focus on socioeconomic factors, social circumstances and psychosocial factors to explain why some people fully retired after career exit, some participated in bridge jobs and others unsuccessfully searched for a bridge job. Using panel data of Dutch retirees, we estimate multinomial logit models to explain the post-retirement work status. While most respondents fully retired after career exit, descriptive results show that one in four retirees participated in bridge jobs. Seven percent searched for a bridge job but was not able to find one. The results of the multivariate models show that the variability in post-retirement work status can be particularly explained by socioeconomic factors, the retirement transition characteristics and psychosocial factors. We find that healthy retirees are more likely to participate in bridge jobs, whereas unhealthy people have a higher likelihood to be unsuccessful at finding a bridge job. In addition, it is shown that those who experienced an involuntary career exit have a higher probability to be unable to find bridge work, mainly when the transition was perceived to be involuntary because of organizational factors. The current study provides evidence for the impact of the social structure on the post-retirement work behavior, and suggests a cumulative disadvantage in the work domain in later life. Retirees who felt forced to exit the career job or suffered from health limitations appeared to have lower chances to successfully reenter the labor force.

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Presented in Session 99: Economics, human capital and labour markets