Relatively more old than young people work

16/10/2007 15:00

The gross labour participation of older people (55-64 years) nearly doubled between 1996 and the first half of 2007, to more than 47 percent. In 2006 labour participation in this group was even higher than among young people (15–24 years).

Gross labour participation

Gross labour participation

More active 55 to 60 year-olds in particular

The largest increase in participation among older workers was for the group aged 55 to 60 years. More women in this age group in particular entered the labour market, doubling their participation rate to over 45 percent between 1996 and 2006. The participation rate for men in this age group rose by no less than 77 percent in the same period and is around the same as the rate for all Dutch men.

Participation is considerably lower among 60 to 65 year-olds. About one third of men in this age group were still active on the labour market in 2006. For women this was less than 14 percent.

Stronger increase that in other west European countries

Labour participation among older groups has increased in all west European countries in the last ten years, but nowhere has the increase been as large as in the Netherlands. In the period 1996–2002 labour participation among older groups rose from the relatively low level of France (32 percent) to the considerably higher level of Germany (44 percent). Because the participation of the older German population has risen strongly since then, their rate was again considerably higher than in the Netherlands in 2006. The gross participation by older Dutch people has been higher than the average in the European Union since 2002.

Gross labour participation of 55–64 year-olds

Gross labour participation of 55–64 year-olds

Participation of older people not remarkably high in European perspective

In spite of the increase, the Netherlands is still in the middle group in terms of participation of older age groups across Europe. The number of active older people in the Netherlands is nowhere the near the percentages in Scandinavia and Great Britain.

Gross labour participation of 55–64 year-olds, 2006

Gross labour participation of 55–64 year-olds

Bart Meijer