New data from the Finnish Centre for Pensions shows a big step up in occupational pension benefits received by the latest group of female retirees, and a fall in the number of pensioners receiving disability pensions.

The central body of the Nordic country’s statutory earnings-related pension system said in an analysis of 2021 figures for new and existing pensioners that pensions received by just-retired women are significantly higher than the average for all female pensioners – a change it links to increased paid work done by women in that cohort, compared with earlier baby boomers.

In 2021, a total of €30bn was paid out in earnings-related pensions, the centre said, with old-age pensions accounting for nearly 90% of that.

“The average monthly pension of those retiring on an earnings-related old-age pension in 2021 was €1,900. On average, the monthly pensions of new female retirees were an ample €200 higher than of those who retired earlier,” the centre said in the analysis released today.

The average monthly earnings-related old-age pension for women retiring in 2021 was €1,841, compared with the average of all retired women of €1,607.

“The gap is explained by elderly female retirees who did the main part of their life’s work outside working life,” the Finnish Centre for Pensions said.

For men, however, it said the monthly pension gap between new retirees and those who retired earlier was insignificant.

Looking at the different age groups, the centre said men aged between 75 and 79 stood out, with pensions for that segment being higher, on average, than for other old-age pension recipients.

Tiina Palotie-Heino, statistics manager of the Finnish Centre for Pensions, said: “Male baby boomers have the highest pensions. They had long and steady working lives.

“In addition, the pension system was more generous earlier: The earnings-related pension was determined based on the last years of work, and there was no pension-cutting life expectancy coefficient,” she said.

The analysis also showed that while about 17,500 people retired on a disability pension in 2021, compared with nearly 44,000 individuals retiring on an old-age pension, the number of those retiring on a disability pension had fallen by 8% from 2020.

“This is the lowest number so far in the 21st century,” the centre said.

Providers in the Finnish earnings-related pension system frequently mention their efforts to reduce the number of people retiring because of disability.

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