SWITZERLAND – The number of active workers per state pensioner in Switzerland has dropped only slightly since 1991, though this has not alleviated the pressure on the state pension scheme, a new study has found.

According to the study, compiled by the federal statistics office (BfS), there are currently 3.5 Swiss workers per state pensioner, down slightly from 3.3 in 1991.

However, the study noted that one-third of these workers were only part-time and that joblessness was a particular problem among people younger than 25 and above 64.

It added that another factor weighing heavily on the state was that a growing number of Swiss workers were opting for early retirement – 51% compared with 49% in 2002.

Of those retiring early, 29% did so three years prior to the official retirement age and 16% did so five years before it, the study found. To qualify for a full state pension in Switzerland, men must retire at 65 and women at 62.

The BfS study is just more evidence of a general demographic trend across Europe.

In Germany, pension experts say that from 2030, there will be just two workers for every state pensioner, compared with around three currently.

Indeed, Norbert Walter, chief economist of Deutsche Bank, has predicted that by 2025, Germany will be “older and emptier,” with fewer people in work and twice as many over the age of 80.