Early Exit Decisions in Finland: Investigating the Limbo between Unemployment and Retirement

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Despite efforts to extend careers, workers continue to withdraw from working life before reaching the old-age pension age. The complexities behind early exit decisions have been extensively studied to understand the individual factors influencing the decision-making processes. However, fewer studies have attempted to understand how underlying cultural notions of age shape these decisions. Using qualitative longitudinal interview data from Finland, this article examined how individuals in the Finnish unemployment pathway to retirement position themselves between unemployment and retirement by drawing on age-specific discourses. Findings show that early exit was framed as the least problematic career option, although colored with ambiguity and anxiety. Individuals did not view themselves as retirees, and some expressed interest in continuing work. Nevertheless, age norms together with experienced, internalized, and expected ageism pushed individuals toward exit, highlighting the need to better understand and support individuals experiencing late-life unemployment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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