Keep Working! But Not with Us?

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  • Title: Keep Working! But Not with Us?: Sweden’s Pension Policy on Retirement Age and Government Agencies’ Recruitment Practices
  • Author(s): Lisbeth Segerlund
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Aging & Social Change
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Aging and Social Change
  • Keywords: Ageism, Anti-Discrimination Work, Government Agencies, Recruitments, Retirement Age, Social Norms, Sweden
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: March 04, 2024
  • ISSN: 2576-5310 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2576-5329 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Segerlund, Lisbeth. 2024. "Keep Working! But Not with Us?: Sweden’s Pension Policy on Retirement Age and Government Agencies’ Recruitment Practices." The Journal of Aging and Social Change 14 (1): 97-122. doi:10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v14i01/97-122.
  • Extent: 26 pages

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Sweden recently revised the age limits in the retirement and employment protection provisions. As of 2023, Swedes can receive a public pension from the age of 63 and have a protected right to continue working until they turn 69 years old. These revisions are part of a reform of the pension system initiated in the 1990s to establish an economically sustainable system in view of the increase in life expectancy. Positive communication from the government accompanies these changes, stating that we now live longer, are healthier and more active, and that we therefore can, as well as would like to, keep working. Simultaneously, there are reports of age discrimination on the labor market. From a point of departure in ageism and social norms, an analysis of selected government agencies’ recruitments, anti-discrimination policies and interviews was carried out to explore recruitment practices related to older adults. Findings show that despite a flexible retirement age and respondents’ claims of the irrelevance of age in recruitment, older adults are recruited to a lesser extent than other age categories and that anti-discrimination measures regarding recruitment and age are scarce. Although references are made to adherence to legislation and competence-based recruitment methods, the combined service merits (employment length) and competence assessments do not seem to fall in favor of older adults. While statements maintaining that fewer older adults are among applicants might be valid, the findings indicate that social expectations (norms) among government agencies, agency employees and older applicants affect the absence of older adults in government agency recruitments.