Towards Two-speed Finland?

Longer Working Life, Retirement Pathways and Inequality

koneen Säätiö

This 5-year, KONE foundation –funded research project, focuses on the day-to-day life and agency of the elderly unemployed. Ageing and demographic change are global megatrends that challenge the labour market in many ways. Prolonging work careers and treating the elderly worker as a resource are ideals often voiced in political rhetoric. Paradoxically, however, age-based inequality, and ageism in the workplace means that elderly workers are, simultaneously, moved into early retirement or made redundant as part of cooperation negotiations.

One of the central questions tackled in this project concerns the diversity and inequality of the ageing population and well as the relationship between social class and ageing. Are we facing the risk that a new class of poor pensioners, partly irrespective of their educational background, is forming in Finland? The term Two-speed refers to this process of growing differentiation and inequality among ageing workers as well as to the difference in the length of working lives of white and blue-collar workers.