request our brochure

Working life is getting shorter

February 4, 2022

At least in Europe, where people are living longer, but spending fewer years working. For the first time since 2000, the expected average duration of working life has dropped. Data from 2020 shows that the expected average duration of working life for 15-year olds in the European Union (EU) was 35.7 years, 0.2 years less than the average for 2019. 

According to the European Commission, the pandemic is partly to blame. The number of years that people can expect to be in the labour force (employed or unemployed) during their life course has also been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Among others, people who would have been available to work and would have sought employment, may have given up their search due to low return expectations, and consequently be outside the labour force, reducing the expected duration of working life”, report says.

The World Economic Forum alerts: “The combination of people living longer but working less raises the prospect of countries struggling with declining future tax revenues at a time when the cost of maintaining an ageing population (increased pension payouts; rising healthcare needs) is heading in the opposite direction.”

Among the EU Member States, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark had the longest expected duration of working life in 2020 (42.0, 41.0 and 40.0 years respectively). These were the only three EU Member States where the expected duration of working life was 40 years or above. These Member States were followed by Estonia (39.2 years), Germany (39.1 years) and Finland (38.8 years).


Source: Eurostat