Employment of older workers well below the European average
In Luxembourg, in 2017, less than 40% of the people aged between 55 and 64 were still working. In this respect, the Grand Duchy is lagging behind the great majority of other EU countries.
Goal of 50% to be achieved
If pension schemes are to remain viable, one of the top priorities for European countries today is to keep older workers in the workforce. In 2001, the Lisbon Strategy set EU countries an objective of increasing employment rates for older workers to 50% and increasing the average retirement age by five years by 2010. Only ten countries have met this objective.
The position of Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, in 2010 and in 2017, only 40% of people aged between 55 and 64 were still working. A figure far too low when compared with the EU average (57.1% in 2017) and the European objective of 50%. Nevertheless, these figures deserve a closer look as they mask important disparities according to specific groups (age-classes, gender, educational attainment level, etc.). Indeed, by gender for example, in 2010, the employment rate of men aged 55-64 reached 47.7% (close to the European objective), compared to 31.3% for women of the same age. Highlighting these disparities gives an understanding of the issues and challenges of active ageing. It also gives the opportunity to think about focused and effective policy responses adapted to the specificities of each group.
In Europe, the consequences on the labour market of an ageing population were and still are at the centre of the concerns of policy makers involved in the European Employment Strategy (EES) and the Lisbon Strategy (2001-2010). Since the strategy’s implementation, keeping older workers employed has been one of the priorities of European countries to ensure, amongst other things, the viability of pension systems.
That is why active ageing has been proposed as a solution to the effects of ageing on the labour market, with two main recommendations (European Councils of Stockholm in 2001 and Barcelona in 2002): an increase in the employment rate of older workers (50% in 2010), as well as a decrease in early-retirement incentives (an increase by five years of the average age at which people exit the labour market).
In Luxembourg, in 2010, at the end of the Lisbon Strategy, 40% of seniors aged 55 to 64 were in employment. This employment rate remains low, lower than the EU average (46%) and below the target recommended at European level. Ten countries have reached the target recommended by the Lisbon Strategy while Luxembourg ranks 21st within the European countries.
Since 2010, the employment rate of workers aged 55-64 in Luxembourg has stood below 40% (39.8% in 2017) and moves down in the overall classification (rank 27) while the EU28 average has reached and even exceeded 50% since 2013 (57,1% in 2017).
Nevertheless, these figures deserve a closer look as they mask important disparities, for instance by age, gender or the educational attainment level.
- For example, by age-classes, the employment rate of workers aged 55-59 increased from 39.3% in 2001 to 55.7% in 2010 (58.4% in 2017*), and have reached the recommended target. At the same time, the employment rate of people aged 60-64, reached only 20.1% in 2010 (8.9% in 2001 and 17.2% in 2017*).
- By gender, in 2010, the employment rate of men aged 55-64 reached 47.7%, compared to 31.3% for women of the same age**.
- By educational attainment level***, very significant differences can be observed. In 2010, employees aged 55-64 who have only reached a level of education below the primary and secondary education level had an employment rate of 24.9% (26.9% in 2017). The rate of employees with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education level was equal to 34.6% (35.1% in 2017), and the rate of employees with a tertiary education level was equal to 66.8% (63.4% in 2017).
Highlighting these disparities gives a better understanding of the issues and challenges of active ageing. It also provides an opportunity to think about focused and effective policy responses adapted to the specificities of each group.
* Source: EUROSTAT (click here to refer to the table)
** In 2017, the employment rate of men aged 55-64 is equal to 45.4% and the rate for women aged 55-64 is equal to 33.9%.
*** Source: EUROSTAT (click here to refer to the table)
The indicator is based on the EU Labour Force Survey. The survey covers the entire population living in private households and excludes those in collective households such as boarding houses, halls of residence and hospitals.
In the framework of this survey, the employed population consists of those persons who worked for pay or profit for at least one hour during the reference week, or, if they did no work, had jobs from which they were temporarily absent. This indicator focuses on the population segment aged 55-64.
** Since July 1, 2013, Croatia became the 28th Member of the European Union (EU).
EUROSTAT, EU Labour Force Survey.
The employment rate of older workers in Luxembourg (aged 55 to 64) in 2001 was equal to 25.6% (37.7% in the EU28). In 2017, this rate did not reach 40% in Luxembourg while it was about 57.1% in the EU28.