Officially, and until the implementation of the reform announced Tuesday, January 10, the legal retirement age is 62 years. But the French are far from all leaving at this age: in 2020, only 31% of people aged 62 had exercised their rights to retirement, the average retirement age being 62.3 years.
Under the effect of successive pension reforms, this average retirement age has steadily increased in recent years: 60.5 years in 2010; 61.9 years in 2016… According to the projections of the Pensions Orientation Council, it should peak at 63.9 years in 2040, almost the legal age at which the next reform would like to lead, under the effect of the Touraine reform, which has lengthened the contribution period necessary to obtain a full-rate pension.
If we now look at the age of people who claimed their retirement in 2020 (the latest figures available), we see a great diversity: if 36% were indeed 62 years old, they were 15% at no be only 60 years old (and 4% under 60); 16% were 63 or 64 years old; 6%, 65; 7%, 66 years old, and 7% beyond…
The main disparity depends on the status
According to the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES), this great disparity is explained both by the widening of the possibilities of early departure in the case of long careers and by the extension of the contribution period, pushing many employees to wait until the age of cancellation of the discount to liquidate their rights.
In the latter case, the age of 66 appears as a pivot: 91% of women have retired at this age, and 94% of men. This difference is explained by the fact that more men benefit from early retirement, while women are often obliged to continue working as long as possible to obtain the right to a minimum pension…
The main disparity depends mainly on the status during the professional career, with two extremes: an average departure at 48.9 years for the military and 65 years for the liberal professions.
The most favored special diets
With the possibility of leaving, according to the statutes, from the age of 47, the military appear to be the most favored, in particular because of the danger to which they are exposed. Today, 75% of them retire before the age of 56, and only 19% (mainly officers) between 57 and 59…
Then come the agents of the RATP, whose average age of departure is 56, and those of the SNCF. The latter leave on average at the age of 57.8, 14% leaving before the age of 56 and 58% between the ages of 57 and 59. “At the SNCF and the RATP, departures under 60 years of age fell respectively by 8 and 10 points in 2020 compared to 2019”, notes however the Drees. In question: the reform of 2010, which still applies gradually in these companies.
If the special SNCF scheme was abolished in 2018 for new entrants, that of the RATP should be affected by the next reform, as well as that of the electricity and gas industries (in particular EDF), whose average age of departure is 58.8 years, and that of the Banque de France (60.8 years).
The liberal professions leave the latest
In the public, the starting ages are very diverse: 60.6 years for state workers (mainly in armament); 60.9 years in the public hospital service (but 59.4 years for nurses and nursing assistants); 62.4 years in the territorial civil service, and 62.6 years in the State civil service. In the latter, nearly a third of new retirees nevertheless left before the age of 62: these are the so-called “active” categories (police officers, firefighters, prison guards), whose working conditions are thus taken into account.
The Drees notes that only 2% of all French people have liquidated their retirement before the age of 60. “Among them, the majority are civil servants – particularly women – and a smaller proportion are members of special regimes – especially among men. Conversely, in the private sector, where the average retirement age is 63, departures before the age of 60 are “virtually non-existent”, even if, at age 60, the majority of early departures take place at title of long careers.
Finally, the liberal professions are those who leave the latest: 65 years on average, with differences between the paramedical professions (64.2 years) and court officers, such as bailiffs (66.8 years), doctors leaving at age 66. Ministers of religion benefit from retirement at age 65, but priests effectively cease their ministry at age 75.
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