College-educated women are more likely to work past retirement age than women with only a high school education, according to a new report.
Elizabeth Hill, a labor economist at Penn State University, found that 32 percent of female college graduates work beyond the age of 70, compared with 13 percent of women with only high school diplomas.
The surprise was the stated motivation. Dr. Hill says she expected to find less educated women working later in life because they needed the money. Instead, she found that flexibility on the job, not money, was the primary factor in determining whether women continued to work.
She also found that women with more education worked more weeks per year, but fewer hours per week. Such women worked an average of 48 weeks per year, compared with 42 for high school educated women, and 20 hours per week, compared with 23 worked by high school grads.
"As we search for ways to reform our Social Security system, these results should be important," says Hill. "Policymakers must keep in mind that it is not primarily money that keeps older women in the workforce. It is the flexibility and the type of job offered to them."