By Kirstie McDermott
If you asked the average 15-year-old European what their main points of interest and concern are, you might get an answer that is a mixed bag of some of the following: the environment and climate change, Y2K fashion, the new Sony PS5, school and TikTok.
What might not make that list is the length of their still-to-come working lives. But maybe it should.
According to a new report from Eurostat, using data gathered in 2021, the expected duration of a working life for today’s 15-year-olds in the EU is now 36 years on average.
This figure varies by country, with the Netherlands near the high end of the spectrum.
Dutch teenagers can expect to work 42.5 years, compared to just 31.6 years for Italians. In Greece, teens will work for 32.9 years, while in Denmark that number climbs to 40.3 years.
What is clear is that the number of years Europeans will work is on the rise, and has been for the past two decades.
Eurostat’s last report on Europeans’ working longevity, released in 2020 and based on data gathered in 2019, found the average duration of a working life across the European Union was 35.2 years.
And that was already 3.6 years longer than in the year 2000.
Men work longer than women
Data has shown that on top of national differences, there are also discrepancies when it comes to gender.
According to Eurostat’s 2022 report, men will put in more years than women over the course of their working lives.
Across the EU, men work an average of 38.2 years, with the longest durations recorded in the Netherlands (44.3 years) and Sweden (43.6 years).
Bulgaria and Romania enjoy the shortest durations for men, at 35 and 34.6 years, respectively.
Women fare better with their average working life lasting 33.7 years, but again, this differs by country. Swedish women can expect to work for 41 years, while Italian women are likely to only work for 26.9 years.
And even though the figures show that men will work longer than women, that gender gap has been reducing across in the EU with the growing participation of women in the labour market.
In 2021, the gap was 4.5 years, compared to 7 years in 2001, so things are improving.
What’s driving the change?
So, what factors are driving Europeans to work longer? One clear element is Europe’s ageing population.
With birth rates falling, encouraging people to work longer makes sense in order to pay for social protection services like pensions and healthcare.
According to one study, “population ageing and the need to guarantee pay-as-you-go pension system sustainability and a sufficient supply of skilled labour are the main reasons for European policies that are aimed at extending working life.”
Places where retiring at age 65 used to be the norm have seen major changes.
Some member states are raising their state pension age, like Germany, which plans to increase the age of qualification to 67 by 2031. In Ireland, the minimum age will rise to 68 by 2028.
For some older workers, it makes financial sense to stay in their employment longer than they may have in the past.
Many older employees are working for longer in order to subsidise pension pots, and increasingly, to compensate for the rising costs of living.
Europeans are also living longer: In 2020, the life expectancy in the EU was 80.4 years.
The solution? Do what you love
With today’s teenagers looking at extended working lives, the question of what job to pursue is even more important.
Indeed, many teens who are already in the workforce are likely to be taking a look at their projected pension dividends and wondering if they’ll be found wanting.That’s why it is more important than ever to do a job you love.
Spending so much of our lives at work means what we do needs to serve us. Below, we’re taking a look at three jobs with great employers, and you can find plenty more on Euronews.jobs.
Sr. Localisation Program Manager, PayPal
The Senior Localisation Program Manager based at Paypal’s campus in Dreilinden, Germany will help bring the PayPal experience to international markets. You will be responsible for understanding the country-specific product requirements, planning, communication, risk management, and project management for several product lines. You’ll need five or more years’ work experience in localisation program management as well as experience managing localisation projects and evangelising globalisation best practices across a variety of cross-functional stakeholders and leadership, working across time zones.
Head of Finance – Accounting & Tax Germany (m/f/d), Flink
In the Berlin-based role as Head of Finance and Ops Germany, you will shape Flink’s pricing strategy by growing and managing the team, conducting in depth analysis and capturing value for the company. You’ll be responsible for the accounting and finance operations of the German business as well as the preparation of financial statements and you will interface with other departments and provide advice based on your expertise. You will need several years of professional experience in the field of finance / taxes / accounting, ideally with an auditing company or fast growing company. Get the full job spec here.
Senior Java Developer, Picnic
The Senior Java Developer at Picnic in Amsterdam will take ownership of projects, grow, and work collaboratively. In this role, you’re expected to provide expertise on tech decisions within your product as well as designing, testing, evolving, and evaluating the nuts and bolts of Picnic’s operation, while offering a creative and analytical approach. You will feel at home writing platforms, and display an intricate understanding of how each line of code fits into a business plan. To apply, you’ll need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in computer science, AI, information technology, computer engineering, or a related technical field and at least five years of professional experience in programming and software development, plus a profound understanding of back-end development, including Java, Spring MVC, MongoDB and PostgreSQL. Find out more here.