The influence of occupational class and physical workload on working life expectancy among older employees

Jolinda Schram, S Solovieva, T Leinonen, E Viikari-Juntura, Lex Burdorf, Suzan Robroek

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective This study investigates the impact of physical workload factors and occupational class on working life expectancy (WLE) and working years lost (WYL) in a sample of older Finnish workers. Methods A 70% random sample of Finns in 2004 was linked to a job exposure matrix for physical workload factors and register information on occupational class and labor market status until 2014. Transitions between being at work, time-restricted work disability, unemployment, economic inactivity, disability retirement, retirement and death were estimated. A multistate Cox regression model with transition-specific covariates was used to estimate the WLE and WYL at age 50 up to 63 years for each occupational class and physical workload factor for men and women (N=415 105). Results At age 50, male and female manual workers had a WLE of 10.13 and 10.14 years, respectively. Among both genders, manual workers had one year shorter WLE at age 50 than upper non-manual employees. This difference was largely attributable to unemployment (men: 0.60, women: 0.66 years) and disability retirement (men: 0.28, women: 0.29 years). Self-employed persons had the highest WLE (11.08 years). Men and women exposed to four or five physical workload factors had about one year lower WLE than non-exposed workers. The difference was primarily attributable to ill-health-related reasons, including disability retirement (men: 0.45 years, women: 0.53 years) and time-restricted work disability (men: 0.23, women: 0.33 years). Conclusions Manual workers and those exposed to physical workload factors had the lowest WLE. The differences in WYL between exposure groups can primarily be explained by ill-health-based exit routes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Research programs

  • EMC OR-01


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