Last year, 569 university teachers retired, of which 316 were men and 253 were women, according to figures compiled by the Swedish Pensions Agency with the help of Statistics Sweden, SCB. The average retirement age of university teachers was 67 years, which is the highest among all reported occupations. Next come doctors and psychologists, followed by actors, musicians and artists.
Men marginally older
Male university teachers who retired last year were marginally older than their female colleagues, with an average retirement age of just over 67 years. The average age of female university teachers who retired was 66.9 years.
“Many university teachers are deeply committed and passionate about what they do at work,” says Gudrun Brattström, one of SULF’s 2 125 retired members. “I still hang around my department and occasionally do some teaching.”
She retired from her position as a senior lecturer in mathematics at Stockholm University in 2019, at the age of 65. There is an established culture of staying in academia even after retirement, she says. “The university world is in many ways an enriching environment, which people value and which feels meaningful. I think that plays a part in university teachers working for a long time,” says Gudrun Brattström.
Not just a way to make a living
Staffan Hedin was a senior lecturer in musical performance at Örebro University until he retired in April this year.
“My qualified guess is that we are often very committed to our work. It’s not just a way to make a living, but also an interest. If you are a researcher, even though I’m not, it can often be a vocation or mission.”
He chose to retire when his employment ended when he turned 68. “Formally, that’s when your employment ends, but I know colleagues who have been offered other employment of various kinds and stayed on. But I have some hearing difficulties, so it was time for me to go,” says Hedin.
Among all occupational categories, the youngest new pensioners are male preschool principals, where the average retirement age is 63.6 years. Among women, the lowest average retirement age last year was 63.7 years for vehicle mechanics and repairers.