In Iceland, people retire satisfied

24. 6. 2022
Iceland is not only a country of volcanoes and glaciers. The country is inspiring in many ways, such as employment policy. Young people are not afraid to have children while they study university. The total fertility rate has been around two children per woman for a long time, which is exceptional in Europe and this number is not significantly increased by migrants, such as in France. Older people, on the other hand, retire satisfied and without existential worries. According to the research by Icelandic scientists, local people are even happier with growing age, which is not similar to older people in the Czech Republic.

According to the MENDELU scientists, who were on an internship in this Nordic country, there are many differences between the Icelandic approach and the rest of Europe. “Iceland’s employment rate is around 90 percent for men between the ages of 55 and 59, and about 80 percent for women, which is the highest number among European countries. In the Czech Republic the number is fewer, but in Slovakia, for example, less than 70 percent of women go to work in this age group. The worst situation is in Greece, where the employment of women in this category is less than 40 percent,” says Martin Lakomý from Department of Law and Social Sciences, FBE. His scientific topic is digitization in the labour market, specifically the challenges, opportunities and inequalities to older employees.

Běla Mikulášková, a doctoral student from Economics and Management (FBE), had a one-month internship in Iceland, and her topic is retirement. According to her, the situation in the Czech Republic and Iceland is totally impossible to compare. “People in Iceland have only six working hours, so they have more time for their hobbies, sports and especially their families. It is also interesting that both partners can go to maternity leave there and they can both have shorter working hours. They have enough time to raise their children together. The state also has a well-thought policy and support of citizens who would like to study, and at the same time start their family, so they are not afraid of parenthood during university studies,” said Mikulášková.

According to her, Icelandic policy is generally different. It enables young people to study while they have their family. People work until old age and in old age they are secured and their children are also secured. “They are not as stressed as Czech retired people. Overall, the society’s set-up and mentality is completely different,” says the young scientist. The Icelandic internship has been her first experience during her studies at MENDELU. “I like travelling, but it has been the first time at university, I would definitely recommend it to my colleagues,” said Mikulášková.

The internship will help her in her doctoral thesis, which topic is the influence of selected factors determining the living standards of people in the post-productive age. “Thanks to the experience from Iceland, I will formulate various recommendations to ensure that older people in the Czech Republic are not as stressed as in the past,” said Mikulášková, added by her colleague Drahomíra Zajíčková from the Department of Law and Social Sciences FBE MENDELU, who deals with the impact of parenthood on labour market outcomes and the gender pay differences. The Nordic countries are inspiring in this area. “In our country, women’s salaries are about a fifth lower than men’s,” Zajíčková points out.

According to Professor Sigurveig H Sigurðardóttir of the University of Iceland, the labour market situation in Iceland is stable after the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had unemployment for some time and now we are looking for employees. We are more concerned about the psychological effects of the pandemic, especially on parents with children,” she mentioned.

More news

All news