Extending working lives of an ageing workforce (Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Finland)

Summary and overall aim

EXTEND is an interdisciplinary organised research project, based on literature review and empirical research (among others, secondary analyses of macro data sets, case studies, expert interviews, focus groups, economic simulations). It is focusing on looking in social inequalities in chances and constraints to extend working life. Its prime socio-political rationale can be viewed in the current retirement and pension policies in most EU-member states which have a strong focus on raising retirement ages and financially incentivising longer working life. EXTEND is reacting to growing social inequalities which benefit those most able to work longer and disadvantage those unable to work longer. Thus EXTEND takes up a research perspective which so far in retirement research has been underdeveloped. EXTEND focuses not only on the societal macro level but explicitly looks into a sector (the social services sector) where the goal of longer working lives is confronted with particular barriers which disproportionately affect health-and care professionals. EXTEND is ‘solution driven’; the project is looking for innovative solutions on different levels, including pension-and retirement policies, improving the employability of an ageing workforce and measures for healthy ageing in work. The most prominent objective is to reduce social inequalities in retirement structures on different levels, macro, organisational and micro. The life course perspective is an underlying rationale. EXTEND also looks at economic effects of different policy measures.

Project duration and budget

Project duration: 03/2016 (FI) & 04/2016 (DE, DK, UK, NL) –08/2018 & 09/2018 (30 months)
Project costs/requested funding: 1.378.862 €


The consortium consists of 6 partners from 5 EU countries:

  1. Forschungsgesellschaft für Gerontologie e.V., Germany: Gerhard Naegele(coordinator of project)
  2. IAT Gelsenkirchen, Germany: Josef Hilbert
  3. Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies, Denmark: Per Jensen
  4. University of Sheffield, United Kingdom: Alan Walker
  5. VU University Medical CentreAmsterdam, The Netherlands: Dorly J.H. Deeg
  6. Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland: Jukka Vuori


In all, EXTEND comprises 9 work packages:

  • WP 1: Social inequalities in realising longer working lives (conceptual framework)
  • WP 2: Policies intended to prolong working lives and their effect on social inequalities
  • WP 3: Indexing retirement/pension policies to residual life expectancy
  • WP 4: Social inequality and its effects on disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) and workability
  • WP 5: Social inequalities and its effects on post-retirement health
  • WP 6: The effect of caring responsibilities on extending working live –the case of professionals in the care sector
  • WP 7: Working conditions and work design as hindrances and opportunities the social services sector –with special focus on the professional health and care sector
  • WP 8: Good practice (macro, meso and micro level)
  • WP 9: Economic evaluation of “good practices“ and recommendations and cost-benefit analyses
  • WP 10: Project coordination, quality assurance, reporting and dissemination

First jpi mybl call for proposals

EXTENDis one of the projects that is funded in the first JPI MYBL call for proposals of 2015, entitled ‘Extended Working Life and its Interaction with Health, Wellbeing and beyond’. A totalof five projects received funding.