Work (employment) and retirement data


Contact: Dorly Deeg

Employment and retirement data are asked in the main interview in the LASA study. Respondents are for instance asked about the characteristics of their current and/or longest-held job, about the job characteristics of their father and partner, and about their retirement transition. Tables 1 and 2 (pdf: under construction) show an overview of the employment and retirement variables measured in LASA.

Measurement instruments in LASA
Employment - Respondents are asked if they have a paid job at present, including one or more hours of work per week for short periods.

Job characteristics: SBC92 - Respondents are asked to precisely indicate their occupation. The occupation indicated by the respondents is coded according to the standard classification of occupation (SBC92; Standaard Beroepen Classificatie) from the Statistics Netherlands (CBS). For instance, cab driver is coded as ‘28205’ and accountant as ‘91503’. The SBC92 is a classification of occupations based on level and direction of necessary skills to perform the job and the combination of the most important work types (such as ‘advisement’, ‘cure people’ or ‘acting’). From the SBC92, the following job characteristics are determined: occupational class (elementary occupations (11) - science managers (98)), occupational skill-level (elementary (1) – scientific (5)) and main type of skills in occupation (general (1) – management (18)).

Job characteristics: prestige, date start work, hours of work, type, management and regularity –Occupational prestige is determined by assigning a prestige scale (13–87(high)) developed by Sixma and Ultee (1984) to the job (See also the LASA documentation on Socio-Economic Status). Respondents were asked in what month and year they started their current job and how many hours they currently work per week. At all waves except wave 2B, respondents were asked to indicate the type of job (e.g. steady job, temporary job with contract, self-employed), whether they managed people (yes/no), how many people they managed and the regularity of their occupation hours (e.g. regular 9 to 5 hours or shift work including weekend).

Unemployment and disability pension - Respondents were asked whether they were registered at an unemployment office. In addition, respondents were asked whether or not they received a disability pension. If they answered affirmatively they were asked to indicate the extent to which they are unable to work because of their health, which is measured in percentages.
Longest-held job respondent and last job respondent, father and partner - At wave B respondents were asked what their longest-held job was. At 2B respondents were asked what their last job was and how many hours weekly they worked (see table 1). At wave 2B respondents were additionally asked what the last job was of their father and if their partner had a job at the moment. If their partner had a job, respondents were asked which occupation the partner performs and how many hours per week their partner works weekly. If their partner did not have a paid job, respondents were asked if they had a paid job before, what the last job was and the month and year the partner stopped working. Questions about the employment of father and partner were also asked at NESTOR-LSN, the 1992 wave preceding the LASA-B wave in 1992/1993

Retirement, retirement reason, voluntary retirement – Because retirement at the age of 65 is mandatory, only respondents aged <65 years were asked if they had (partially) retired early (no, yes partially, yes fully). Only at wave 2B, if respondents were retired, they were asked what the reason for retirement was. At wave G, if respondents were retired, they were asked whether the (early) retirement was voluntary (yes / not (completely) voluntary).

Retirement anticipations and expectations - If they were not fully retired, retirement anticipation was asked by the question ‘Are you anticipating in the things you do that you will retire within some time?’ (yes/no). At all waves except for wave 2B, if respondents answered yes, respondents were asked how they anticipated to retire within some time (e.g. by working less hours, volunteer work, more often takes a holiday). At 2B, respondents who were still employed were asked about their expectations and reasons for continued employment and retirement were asked. Respondents were asked if they expect to continue their current occupation until their 65th birthday, if they would consider early retirement if this would soon be possible with a financially reasonable settlement, what the most important reason would be for the respondent to take (partial) early retirement, not to take full early retirement, and not to take early retirement. In 1992-93 and 2002-03, respondents were asked whether they think that the age at retirement should be fixed (agree, do not agree, don’t know/depends; Kapelle & Deeg, 2010).

LASAB016 / LASAC016 / LASAD016 / LASAE016 / LAS2B016 / LASAF016 / LASAG016 / LASAH016 / LAS3B016 / LASMB016 / LASAI016 / LASAJ016 (main interview: in Dutch);
LASAI713 / LASAJ713 (telephone interview with RESP: in Dutch)

Variable information
LASAB016 / LASAC016 / LASAD016 / LASAE016 / LAS2B016 / LASAF016 / LASAG016 / LASAH016 / LAS3B016 / LASMB016 (not processed yet) / LASAI016 / LASAJ016 (not processed yet)

Availability of information per wave 1














Employment status













1 More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
   3B=baseline third cohort;
   MB=migrants: baseline first cohort (Under Construction)
   J=under construction

Ma=data collected in main interview;
Tr=data collected in telephone interview with respondent

Previous use in LASA
Studies have examined the effect of employment and retirement on various factors. For instance, Van Tilburg (2003) found that among all men the number of work-related network members declined, but more strongly among retirees. However, between 1992 and 2002, the likelihood of having work-related relationships in their personal network after retirement increased, showing retirement might have become less disruptive (Cozijnsen, Stevens and Van Tilburg, 2010). Bloem, Tilburg and Thomése (2008) found that the work-related relationships that do continue are not affected by a major life event such as a move.

Employment furthermore was shown to be associated with volunteer work. Broese van Groenou and Deeg (2010) show that full-time employment restricts volunteer work, but not other forms of social participation, such as participation in religious organisations, having a large social network or participation in cultural and recreational activities. Part-time employment does not restrict social participation.

Rijs, Cozijnsen and Deeg (2012) found that health selection into retirement is most important in early (55-58) and late (61-64) retirees. However, retirement at modal age (59-60), which in 1992-2002 was the approximate age at which most persons retired in the Netherlands, were more likely to have excellent or good self-perceived health after retirement. With the public debate regarding the retirement age in mind, this group of retirees may be able to continue employment and therefore should be stimulated to continue employment. Proper, Deeg and Van der Beek (2009) studied reasons for continued employment and found that the most important reasons for persons aged 55 to 65 years are financial reasons and challenges at work.


  1. Bloem, B.A., van Tilburg, T.G., Thomése, G.C.F. (2008). Changes in older Dutch adults'role networks after moving. Personal Relationships, 15, 465-478.
  2. Broese van Groenou, M. & D.J.H. Deeg (2010). Formal and informal social participation of the ‘young-old’ in The Netherlands in 1992 and 2002. Ageing & Society, 30, 445-465.
  3. Cozijnsen, M.R., Stevens, N.L., van Tilburg, T.G. (2010). Maintaining work-related personal ties following retirement. Personal Relationships, 17, 345-356.
  4. Proper, K.I., Deeg, D.J.H., van der Beek, A. (2009). Challenges at work and financial rewards to stimulate longer workforce participation. Human Resources for Health, 7, 70, 1-13.
  5. Kapelle, H.M. and Deeg, D.J.H. (2010). Old age comes with shortcomings. Are we fit enough to continue employment? (Ouderdom komt echt met gebreken. Zijn we wel fit genoeg om langer door te werken?). Pensioen & Praktijk, 7, 6-10.
  6. Rijs, K.J., Cozijnsen, R. and Deeg, D.J.H. (2012). The effect of retirement and age at retirement on self-perceived health after three years of follow-up in Dutch 55-64 year-olds. Ageing & Society, 32, 281-306.
  7. Sixma, H. and Ultee, W.C. 1984. An occupational prestige scale for the Netherlands in the eighties. In Bakker, B.F.M, Dronkers, J., & Ganzeboom, H.B.G. (eds), Social Stratification and Mobility in the Netherlands. A Collection of Recent Contributions to the Study of Social Inequality in a Modern Western Society: Data, Trends and Comparisons. SISWO-publication 291: Amsterdam, 91-108.
  8. van Tilburg, T.G. (2003). Consequences of men's retirement for the continuation of work-related personal relationships.Ageing International, 28, 4, 345-358.