Introduction Employment conditions are key determinants of health at all ages. In Chile almost 13% of workers are aged 60 or more, and the pension system is currently experiencing a severe coverage crisis resulting in insufficient income-replacement rates. It has been recommended that retirement age should be postponed and the work of the elderly encouraged, while guaranteeing quality employment for them. The main objective of this study is to describe the sociodemographic characteristics and employment conditions of ageing workers in Chile.
Methods Descriptive analysis were conducted with data from the Chilean active population survey (2010 & 2014). Subjects were divided into 5-year age groups to describe their labour market participation and employment conditions.
Results Rates of occupation decrease sharply after age 54 in women and 59 in men. Occupation rates are markedly lower in men with less than elementary education, but equate that of other groups by age 60–64. In women, there is a marked educational gradient which wears off by age 65. While the proportion of women in the workforce decreases with age, that of less educated workers increases.
Both older women and men who continue to work do so at a greater extent than younger workers as own-account workers, in small companies in the private sector, in households in the case of women and, especially in the case of women, without a contract. Precarious employment conditions also tend to increase as workers age.
Conclusions Labour market participation of ageing workers in Chile is characterised by jobs that tend to exhibit greater levels of informality and employment precariousness. Increasing labour market participation of elder workers will require adequate instruments to protect their employment conditions in order to preserve their health and ability to work.
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