Working Life Expectancy In Europe
While unemployment rate as well as other standard indicators of economic activity focus on specific stages of person's life cycle, duration of working life indicator (DWL) or, in other words, working life expectancy, captures the entire life cycle of active and employed population.
Created with the purpose of monitoring progress made under the Europe 2020 employment strategy, this indicator shows the number of years a person aged 15 years is expected to be economically active in the labor market along his or her life.
Thus, Iceland is the leader among European countries in the duration of working life: here people are expected to spend 44 years on economic activities or a bit more than the half of life (82 years in 2011), expressed through life expectancy at birth. Long active life is actually specific for major North European countries: Sweden, Netherlands, Norway and Denmark are all in top-10 countries by working life expectancy.
People in Southern states, such as Italy, Malta, Hungary, Croatia, are, on the contrary, expected to spend comparatively less time on working. So, in Italy, expected duration of working life is almost 3 times as less as the expected duration of the whole life (29 against 83 years).
Concerning differences in activity patterns between sexes, it is only Lithuania, where women are expected to have longer economically active life than men (though the difference is slight - only a half of year), while all the other European countries experience opposite tendency. However, this difference is gradually shrinking: only in 8 countries difference between males and females was increasing in average from 2000 to 2012. All the other nations including European Union as a whole demonstrate the tendency to level down difference between sexes in the duration of working life with the Spain as a leader, where the difference reduced by 7.3 years during the last decade.
All in all, duration of working life has increased in all European countries except Iceland and Romania through the period from 2000 to 2012. Well, till health allows to work more, as life expectancy and working life expectancy are positively related, there is no reason to stop as longer economically active life means more wealth for the population of the country.
Note: A.00-12 means average for the period 2000-2012 while C.00-12 means absolute change from 2000 to 2012. Difference (M-F) stands for absolute difference between values for males and females. List of data sources is presented at the bottom of the the page.