OECD: flexibility and cost of part-time work

OECD: the flexibility and cost of part-time work

2 minute read

Alex Wynaendts, CEO of Aegon, highlights the challenges faced by part-time workers in his latest contribution to the OECD-led debate on the future of work and retirement.

Non-standard work is an umbrella term covering part-time, temporary and on-call work. People in this group currently make up one third of the workforce, according to intergovernmental economic organization OECD.

Pros and cons

Aegon's CEO has written a number of articles for the OECD Forum Network. In his latest contribution, on a New Societal Contract and the Future of Work, Mr Wynaendts notes that non-standard work offers both advantages and disadvantages.

A major advantage of non-standard work is that it gives people a degree of flexibility in choosing when and how they work. This makes it possible for more people to participate in the labor market. However, non-standard workers often lack a steady pay check and access to employer benefits, including retirement benefits.

Retirement readiness

Drawing on the 2019 Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey, Alex sketches a portrait of a hypothetical part-time worker, Sarah: a 48-year old single woman, whose median personal income is 63% of her full-time colleague.

How secure should Sarah feel about her finances and retirement readiness?

Earning less, living on your own and perhaps not being able to find full-time work may be factors contributing to the fact that 42% of part-time workers feel stressed about their long-term financial planning at least once per month.

Looking to the future, part-time workers cite declining physical health (49%) and running out of money (47%) as their top two retirement concerns.

The article says it is not surprising that only 15% are very/extremely confident that they will be able to afford their healthcare in retirement. One-in-five (21%) are confident that they will be able to retire with a lifestyle they consider comfortable.

Call to action

What should non-standard workers like Sarah do to improve their financial security?

The article strongly encourages part-time workers like Sarah to "develop a budget for today and a written plan for retirement". And, he calls on employers to make sure their part-time workers "enjoy the same eligibility to join workplace retirement savings plans as their full-time counterparts."