NETHERLANDS - The average retirement age of Dutch workers in 2008 of 62 years has not increased compared with the previous year, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has found.

The CBS said nearly 80% of workers who retired in 2008 were younger than the official retirement age of 65.

Between 2000 and 2006, employees stopped working at 61 on average. However, in 2007, following legislation to discourage early retirement, the average retirement age increased to 62.

Meanwhile, the CBS also found that the retirement age of workers in agriculture and fisheries was the highest in 2008, at almost 65.

Employees in the hotel and catering business, as well as staff at service providers in the environmental and cultural sectors, stopped working at 63 on average.

Workers in the care and building sectors, as well as in public services, took the earliest retirement (61).

According to Lans Bovenberg, economist at Tilburg University, the levelling off of the retirement age has been the product of weakening labour demand in the wake of the financial crisis.

He told IPE: "Because pension funds can hardly pay any indexation now, people will feel the urge to keep on working longer, supported by a recovering economy and a growing demand for labour."

Last year, Bovenberg, who is also a director at Netspar, the network for retirement, pensions and ageing, argued that the state pension should be raised to 68 to meet growing life expectancy.

The current minority government has agreed to increase the official retirement age to 66 in 2020, but has not yet passed any legislation.