Working pensioners important for Czech labour force

A recent study of the Czech workforce, conducted by the Czech Statistical Office, has shown that pensioners made up almost 5% of the economically active population in 2010, and more than 5% of all pensioners are still in work. This section of the workforce shows specific characteristics relating to education, job position and employment contract. A growing number of pensioners want to remain in work and feel they will be able to do so, past the official retirement age of 65.

About the study

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is conducted every quarter on a randomly selected sample of private households and focuses on surveying the economic status of the population across the country. It is carried out by the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) and began in 1992. The sample size is approximately 51,000 respondents aged 15 years and over.

The questionnaire includes data on the total number of working pensioners who receive old-age or disability pensions.

Working pensioners

The average number of people in the Czech labour force receiving a pension in the first three quarters of 2010 was 238,000, 5.4% of the total number of pensioners and almost 5% of the working population.

Almost two thirds (63%) of these people were receiving an old-age pension and the remainder were in receipt of a disability pension.

There were slightly more women than men among working old-age pensioners, reflecting the effect of a lower retirement age for women and the likelihood that female pensioners below the age of 65 will continue working if possible, as men do. The percentage of men among working pensioners changes considerably above the age of 65, where the number of working men significantly exceeds the number of working women even though the overall ratio of men to women pensioners above the age of 65 is 40% men to 60% women.

Figure 1: Number of working old-age pensioners, by gender, Q1–Q3 2010 (%)

Figure 1: Number of working old-age pensioners, by gender, Q1–Q3 2010 (%)

Source: Czech Statistical Office, 2010

Impact of education

A considerable difference was recorded in the number of old-age pensioners who were working, when looked at in relation to their level of educational attainment. Among those who have only elementary education, only every 50th pensioner (or 2%) worked. This percentage increases as the level of education increases, and is highest among pensioners who hold a university degree, among whom about every fifth pensioner worked (that is, 19.1%).

Figure 2: Educational background of old-age pensioners and working old-age pensioners (%)

Figure 2: Educational background of old-age pensioners and working old-age pensioners (%)

Source: Czech Statistical Office, 2010

Jobs held by pensioners

More than 42% of pensioners work in highly qualified professions (major groups 2 and 3 of CZ-ISCO-88), although members of this group (more than 14%) also work relatively often as auxiliary and unskilled labour (major groups 9 of CZ-ISCO-88). The number of old-age pensioners working as auxiliary and unskilled labour is more than twice the number of all working old-age pensioners with an elementary education.

Figure 3: Percentage of working old-age pensioners among all working persons in major groups of CZ-ISCO-88, Q1–Q3 2010

Figure 3: Percentage of working old-age pensioners in major groups of CZ-ISCO-88, Q1–Q3 2010 (%)

Source: Czech Statistical Office, 2010

More self-employed, more part-time workers

The proportion of economically active pensioners working for an employer is approximately two thirds, compared to 83% of the total working population not receiving a pension. One quarter of old-age pensioners work as self-employed persons. Other working pensioners are entrepreneurs (5.8%) with their own employees and the rest are represented by people without any contract or those who have a contract for particular work that does not establish an employer–employee relationship.

While part-time workers make up nearly 6% of the total working population, 49.2% of working pensioners work part time. The number of working pensioners who have a fixed-term contract is also far higher than among the general working population, 72% compared with less than 9% of all employees.


The participation of pensioners in the workforce has a positive impact on the average length of active life among the Czech population, which has one of the lowest retirement ages in the EU. According to Eurostat, the average retirement age was 61.4 (60.8 for women) in 2008 in the EU, while in the Czech Republic it was 60.6 (59 for women).

Ultimately, retirement is determined by factors such as the changing legal limit that establishes entitlement to an old-age pension, the overall labour market situation, available opportunities to continue in active work after a worker is entitled to receive an old-age pension and whether it is possible to continue working while drawing a pension.

Apart from highly qualified professionals who can keep their previous positions, many pensioners find employment in different areas, often with lower status and employment security than their previous job.


Czech Statistical Office (2010), Důchodci a jejich aktivita na trhu práce [Pensioners and their labour market activity], Labour Force Survey.

Kyzlinková, R. and Kotrusová, M. (2011), Zaměstnanost starších osob na částečný úvazek: role zdravotního stavu, [Part-time employment of older people: Role of health], Fórum sociální politiky 3, pp. 7–14.

Štěpánka Pfeiferová, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)

Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Eurofound welcomes feedback and updates on this regulation

Add new comment