A conceptual framework addressing the complex labour market dynamics of the work-to-retirement process

Taina Leinonen, Isabelle Boets, Elisabeta Pletea, Sofie Vandenbroeck, Ingrid Sivesind Mehlum, Hans Martin Hasselhorn, Astrid de Wind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The way in which retirement is conceptualized and measured is likely to influence the research findings. The previous literature has addressed a wide range of elements related to the complex work-to-retirement process, such as early, late and partial retirement, statutory retirement, work disability and unemployment paths to retirement, or different types of bridge employment. However, conceptual clarity in terms of connections between the different elements is called for. We introduce a conceptual framework of the work-to-retirement process to guide its future measurement. Together with information on the statutory retirement age, the main elements of the framework are based on employment and pension receipt, acknowledging that these may overlap. The framework is flexible to the user, providing the possibility to add various specifications—e.g. of types of employment, types of pension receipt, unemployment, and being outside the labour force—depending on the study context and aims. The framework highlights the complexity of the work-to-retirement process, bringing forth its multifaceted, multiphased and multidirectional features. Accounting for such complexity in later-life labour market dynamics helps to elaborate what is actually addressed when investigating “retirement”. Our conceptual framework can be utilized to enhance well-defined, precise and comparable measurement of the work-to-retirement process in studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1631-1637
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number4
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Employment
  • Labour force
  • Measurement
  • Pension
  • Theoretical model

Cite this