NETHERLANDS - Nearly six out of 10 workers in The Netherlands would consider taking a part-time pension in the final years of their working life, according to a study commissioned by pension provider Aegon.

The study, conducted by research institute TNS NIPO, surveyed over 500 full-time employees aged 45 years and older. In addition to employee interest in part-time retirement, the survey also mapped workers' knowledge of pensions and their willingness to defer retirement, both of which were found to be strikingly lacking.

A quarter of respondents said they do not have the faintest idea what type of pension scheme they participate in. In addition, nearly two thirds (64%) of the workers surveyed believe their benefits after retirement will amount to 70% of final salary. In reality, this is rarely the case.

And despite the government's drive to encourage later retirement, the willingness to continue working is extremely low. Although the average age that workers expect to retire has risen from 61 to 63, nearly all respondents to the study said they would prefer to retire earlier than the expected retirement age to working longer.

83% of respondents said their ideal retirement age lies below 65. A majority (61%) would prefer to quit working as soon as possible. So the introduction of a flexible retirement age for the Dutch state pension (AOW) would inspire just 9% of respondents to continue working after 65 years of age.

Few workers are convinced of the necessity to raise the state pension's retirement age to 67, as the Dutch Cabinet has proposed. Just 15% believe the retirement age for the state pension, AOW, needs to be raised at all. All the same, 80% believe a retirement age hike will be signed into law in any case.

The Aegon study showed that a little over half of workers - 58% - would be interested in working part-time as they headed for the retirement age, if their employer would allow it.

The set of workers interested in part-time retirement consists of three subsets. The largest segment (44%) needs to continue working until 65 years of age because of financial considerations but would consider working fewer hours in the final years, provided this would be financially feasible.

The second subset (35%) has a higher income and thus more financial resources. These workers would prefer to take a part-time pension at an early age - starting at 57 years of age - and prefer to take a full pension at the earliest possible opportunity.
The third and smallest segment (21%) would consider working till 67 years of age and may show an interest in working part-time after 65. In this segment women are over-represented.

To find out more about this study, make sure you read the interview with Jeroen de Munnik, board member at Aegon, in the upcoming December edition of IPN, the Dutch language sister publication of IPE.