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Raising Switzerland’s retirement age – big differences of opinion

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© Vadimgozhda | Dreamstime.com Switzerland’s government has long discussed the importance of raising the retirement age to ensure the financial viability of the pension system. However, it is not clear whether voters would support such a plan. According to a survey by Deloitte, an accounting and consulting company, raising the official retirement age might not ...

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Raising Switzerland’s retirement age – big differences of opinion

© Vadimgozhda | Dreamstime.com

Switzerland’s government has long discussed the importance of raising the retirement age to ensure the financial viability of the pension system. However, it is not clear whether voters would support such a plan.

According to a survey by Deloitte, an accounting and consulting company, raising the official retirement age might not find majority support among Swiss voters. Some groups are firmly against the idea.

Only 47% of the 1,000 voters between 50 and 70 surveyed supported raising the retirement age of women from 64 to 65 to bring it into line with that for men.

And while 50 to 70 year olds only make up only 36% of the population, they are more likely to vote and so represent a higher percentage of active voters.

The overall figure of 47% hides big variations between men and women and German- and French-speakers.

While 60% of men support equalising the retirement age for men and women only 32% of women do. In addition, while 55% of German-speakers support a retirement age of 65 for women only 24% of French-speakers do.

German-speaking Swiss seem very concerned with the long term financial health of the pension system, while French-speakers demand more from the state, according to the report’s authors. These differing social and political attitudes are well known, but the depth of the röstigraben divide – a metaphor for the dividing line between French- and German-speaking Switzerland – on raising the retirement age is sobering, said Reto Savoia, Deloitte Switzerland’s CEO.

The authors of the report recommend Switzerland consider the changes adopted in Sweden and Canada, two countries that have replaced fixed retirement ages with flexible ones that reward those who work longer with higher pension payments. Switzerland could let people choose when they retire between 60 and 70. Such a system would let employees work longer and allow employers to recruit and retain older workers, something that would help with the looming shortage of workers brought on by retiring baby-boomers.


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