Workers in education oldest on average

02/10/2008 15:00

The average age of people employed in education was over 43 years in 2007. This makes education the ‘greyest’ sector of employment in the Netherlands. Men in particular working in education are relatively old. The difference in ageing between men and women will contribute to the increasingly large share of women in primary school classrooms.

Ageing strongest in education

Around half a million people worked in education in 2007. They were 43.4 years old on average. This is older than workers in other sectors of industry. The government came second, with an average age of 42.1 years. The average age of the overall employed labour force was 39.8 years.

Average age of employed labour force, 2007

Average age of employed labour force, 2007

Many older men in education

Over half of workers in education were aged 45 years or older. This is a much larger share than in the overall labour force, where 37 percent were over 45. Men working in education are particularly likely to be older. For example, 61 percent of men in education were aged between 45 and 65 years, compared with 46 percent of women. One quarter of men working in education are 55 years or older. Many of them will retire in the near future.

Age distribution of the employed labour force, 2007

Age distribution of the employed labour force, 2007

Increasing share of women teachers

As a result of the overrepresentation of older men in education, the sector will feminise further in the future. More than three-quarters of primary school teachers in 2007 were women. With an average age of 41 years, these women were some five years younger than their male colleagues. In the near future, therefore, relatively many men will retire from primary school teaching. This outflow will be compensated by only a very limited inflow of young male primary school teachers. In recent years, only one in nine people qualifying to teach in primary education were men.

Jan-Willem Bruggink