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Table 2 Overview of themes, citations, and characteristics of the participant

From: Why older workers work beyond the retirement age: a qualitative study

Theme Citation Participant
Health I want work, but there are also some things you have to consider of course, for example your health. That is a certain precondition.’ Male, 70 years, employee, highly educated, focus group
 Working is healthy; it keeps you young, fit and healthy. If you are working you have to stay active and use your brains.’ Male, 68 years, employee, highly educated, focus group
Work characteristics ‘When my supervisor offered me a contract, I asked if I could work part-time. Now I can spend more time with my family.’ Female, 65 years, employee, highly educated, individual interview
  ‘I could not prolong my work participation. As soon as I reached the retirement age, my contract stopped and they did not want to extend my contract. They said that they did not want to hire older workers. That is why I had to stop working at that company, but currently I am able to work for a temporary employment agency.’ Male, 69 years, employee, medium educated, focus group
 Usually I have only contact with older persons. But at work I get the opportunity to be in an environment with younger persons.’ Female, 67 years, employee, highly educated, individual interview
  ‘My partner and my clients played a role in the decision to prolong my work participation. You get a certain relationship with your clients, so you do not want to break this relationship.’ Female, 67 years, self-employed, low-educated, individual interview
  ‘For me it is hard to say ‘no’ as a self-employed person. There is personnel shortage in the health care. They always need someone. I want to offer my help to the clients, and also to the department where I am working. They always have personnel shortage.’ Female, 66 years, self-employed, medium educated, individual interview
Skills and knowledge Last year I had to get my certificate to drive a fork-lift truck. My supervisor, at that moment, gave me the opportunity to follow this course. I was 77 years old back then and I got a certificate. So that was quite funny actually.’ Male, 78 years, employee, low-educated, focus group
  ‘There are only a few persons qualified for teaching this program you know. I was one of them. That is why my supervisor wanted me to continue my work participation after the pension age.’ Male, 65 years, employee, highly educated, individual interview
Social influences It is no fun sitting at home alone. My partner has to continue working for six or seven years. But this motivation is positive for me.’ Male, 70 years, employee, medium educated, focus group
  ‘I am living alone and I like it if can go somewhere where I can see and meet people, such as my colleagues.’ Female, 70 years, employee, medium educated, focus group
Financial benefit ‘The financial reason is very important for me, because I really want to keep driving in my car. I used to be an entrepreneur and it was difficult for me to save for my pension income at that time’. Female, 70 years, employee, medium educated, focus group
  ‘I have only one motivation to prolong my work participation and that is the money. I was not so smart as the other persons regarding saving for my pension income. Currently, I am only receiving an old age pension and I use my income as an addition to my old age pension’. Male, 66 years, employee, medium education, focus group
  ‘Money was not the reason to prolong my work participation. But it was something extra for me. Now I can save more money and I can spend it on travelling.’ Male, 69 years, employee, medium educated, individual interview
Purpose in life ‘My second reason is to continue participating in society. When you are employed, you are part of the society. You are not standing on the sideline, which is something what happens if you are ageing.’ Male, 67 years, employee, medium educated, focus group
 What I often see with peers of the same age is that after they have stopped working, they had no purpose in their life anymore and became more aware of their health problems’ Female, 67 years, self-employed, low-educated, individual interview
  ‘Working gives you a purpose in life. If you are healthy, you can live for 20 more years and if you are going on retirement… what are you going to do? When you have 20 years left, you still want something to do in your life right? Work can give you some purpose in life in those 20 years.’ Female, 65 years, employee, highly educated, focus group
  ‘If I am working I have to put some effort in my appearance. I love this challenge. There are some requirements when you are working. You cannot wear your sleepwear for example. Working prevents me from wearing my sleepwear the whole day.’ Female, 65 years, self-employed, highly educated, individual interview