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Successful Senior Programme at Oras

Oras Group, the Finnish sanitary fittings manufacturer, launched a senior programme more than 20 years ago.

“You cannot study the making of sanitary facilities at any school; it is something you have to learn on the job. Therefore it is crucial that the silent know-how and the skills of the experienced, elderly employees are passed on to the next generation,” says Pekka Kuusiniemi, CEO of Oras Group.

Employees aged 55 and above can enrol in the senior program, which includes a fitness program, wellbeing-at-work events and senior leaves.

Employees aged 60 and above can take 15 days of senior leave per year. Three of them have to include organised wellbeing-at-work events. The remaining 12 days are to be used for taking care of one’s own health and wellbeing. When an elderly employee is tired, but not so much that he or she would need to go on a sick leave, days of senior leave come in handy.

“Giving 700 extra days of leave per year is an investment that we feel worth making. Our goal is a personnel that is fit to work until the regular retirement age and that can retire in good health,” Kuusiniemi explains.

It is no wonder, then, that the average retirement age among Oras Group’s Finnish employees is 63.3 years, two years above the national average retirement age. Furthermore, not a single employee at Oras in Finland retired on a disability pension in 2014.

“It is important to keep an eye on the age structure of our personnel for years to come and to hold on to our skilled employees. I believe we will reach an average retirement age of 65 years without the age limits of the pension reform.”

Pension Investing at Ilmarinen

The Finnish pension assets of EUR 170 billion would be an immense single locus of risk if our pensions system was not decentralised.

According to Timo Ritakallio, the new President and CEO of Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company, competition results in a better overall return than a monopoly would.

In the last twenty years, Ilmarinen has received a four per cent average annual real return on investments.“We have reached our goals in our long-term investment strategy, and I believe that we will reach them also this year, despite the bleak economic situation,” Ritakallio explains.

Lately, the proportion of domestic shares in Ilmarinen’s port- folio has decreased while investments in Europe and China have increased.

Patriotism is at its best when the company looks for return where it can be had:

“In 2014, we received a 45- percent return on our invest- ments in China alone,” Ritakallio concludes.

Retirees in Transport and Care Services

Based on employment statistics of Statistics Finland for year-ends 2010-2012, an ample 40,000 persons aged 63-74 years were working while receiving an old-age pension.

White-collar employees tend to retire at a later age, while blue-collar workers retire earlier and then work alongside retirement.

The employment of retirees depends at least partly on the labour markets.

Retirees are commonly employed in fields which tend to use part-time and occasional employees: transport, construction, nursing, health care, services and teaching.

The professions of retirees are clearly divided by gender. Retired women work as nurses, cleaners, teachers and salespersons, while retired men work as transport workers, construction workers and janitors.

Rising European Retirement Ages

The retirement ages will rise in nearly all Member States of the European Union from the currently general 65 years to 67-68 years.

Finland is about to jump on the same train with most other EU Member States. The end destination is a considerably higher retirement age.

Most EU Member States have linked the retirement age to life expectancy, as encouraged by the European Commission. In Finland, the earliest eligibility age for old-age pension will rise to an ample 67 years by 2050. The target retirement age will be even higher, close to 70 years.

The goal is a stable ratio between the expected working life (time from age 18 to the earliest eligibility age for old-age retirement) and the expected time in retirement (the life expectancy at the eligibility age).

As the eligibility ages rise and people have to work longer, increasing attention has to be paid to the working capacity of elderly employees throughout the world.

LENA KOSKI Translator Finnish Centre for Pensions
LENA KOSKI Translator Finnish Centre for Pensions

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