According to a new survey, raising the retirement age would provoke more rejection from many people in Germany than a higher pension contribution. A good two-thirds of those in employment would prefer to pay more into the pension fund if they were given this choice, according to a survey published on Friday by the opinion research institute Kantar on behalf of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB).

In the case of 18 to 39 year olds, even 70 percent would prefer higher contribution payments. Older people are less willing to make higher pension contributions than younger people – 59 percent of 60 to 66 year olds would decide to do so. Demands from employers in particular to link the retirement age to the increasing life expectancy in Germany keep coming. Co-initiators of the survey were the Bremen Chamber of Labor and the Saarland Chamber of Labor. According to Kantar, the results provide a reliable picture of opinion with regard to the characteristics of age, gender, education and region.

Safety from poverty is important for almost everyone

Almost all respondents (99 percent) consider it important that poverty can be avoided through old-age security. Two-thirds (66 percent) even consider this to be extremely important. Maintaining the personal standard of living in old age also plays an important to extremely important role for almost all employed persons (96 percent).

According to DGB board member Anja Piel, in order to meet the wishes of the working population, it is essential that both pensions and wages increase. “The pension level must be permanently stabilized at 48 percent and subsequently raised to at least 50 percent,” Piel demanded when the results were presented in Berlin. The pension level describes the security power of pensions to wages. According to the law, it must not fall below 48 percent by 2025. According to official forecasts, the level should then drop significantly.

People want “reliable pension provision”

A large majority (83 percent) of those surveyed would like higher pensions. According to around 68 percent of those surveyed, at least half of the entire old-age security should come from the statutory pension. In addition, old-age provision in Germany is based on company and private provision.

The general manager of the Bremen Chamber of Employees, Peer Rosenthal, sees this as proof that people want “reliable provision”. The result is a clear mandate for politicians to concentrate on the statutory pension insurance in the debated pension reform. Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to set the course for the future with a new pension package this year.