Youth and Pensions: How Recent Pension Reforms Account for Early Career Employment in Finland

05/23/2022 - 16:00 - 18:00

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On the 23rd of May 2022 (16:00 EEST) in the next open seminar of the TLU Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Life-Course Studies, Dr. Kati Kuitto and Dr. Ilari Ilmakunnas from the Finnish Centre for Pensions will make a presentation of COST project YOUNG-IN on the following topic “Youth and pensions: How recent pension reforms account for early career employment in Finland”. Presentation will take place via Zoom.

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Young people entering the labour market today face more atypical employment and career uncertainties than older generations. At the same time, pension reforms have diminished the generosity of public pensions for future retirees in many countries. Consequently, the old age income adequacy of today’s youth is challenged by both developments. 

One way to buffer individuals against possible career uncertainties and gaps is to lengthen the period during which mandatory pension accumulation occurs. Furthermore, some gaps in working career can also be set to accumulate the earnings-related pension (such as parental leaves and educational attainment). These gaps are typical especially among young adults. Recent Finnish pension reforms lowered the age from which earnings-related pension is accumulated: the age threshold was decreased from 23 to 18 in 2005 and further to 17 in 2017. Thus, employment during almost the whole life course now contributes to the level of earnings-related pension.

We discuss how young adults’ gaps in working career can be considered in earnings-related pension. Additionally, we provide a closer look at young Finns’ employment. We illustrate how much of young individuals’ employment and earnings would not have been contributed to the earnings-related pensions without the pension reforms lowering the accumulation age limit. It is also studied how early employment and pension accumulation differs by gender and migration background. We use register data from the Finnish Centre for Pensions including all individuals of cohorts 1986–2003, and all employment spells that have accrued pension for 2005–2019.


Kati Kuitto is senior researcher at the Finnish Centre for Pensions in Helsinki. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Greifswald. Her current research interests include comparative study of pension adequacy, lengthening working lives, and social policy over the life course.

Twitter: @KatiKuitto | Personal webpage:


Ilari Ilmakunnas obtained a PhD from the University of Turku in 2019. Currently he is working as a senior researcher at the Finnish Centre for Pensions. His research focuses on poverty and its measurement, social assistance recipiency, social security and pensions. 

Twitter: @Ilmakun | Personal webpage: