More older people active on the labour market

19/03/2013 15:00

The proportion of working 60 to 65-year-olds has more than doubled over the past decade and continued to grow in 2012. The share of older unemployed willing to work is more than one and a half times as high as ten years ago. More often than in the past, they are actively looking for work.

Labour participation 60 to 65-year-olds continually rising

More than half of 55 to 65-year-olds (1.1 million individuals) were working last year. The most substantial rise in labour participation of older people has occurred since 2006, when early retirement schemes became more austere. Labour participation growth among 55 to 60-year-olds has slowed down after 2009, but the labour participation rate among 60 to 65-year-olds has continued to grow in 2012, despite the poor situation on the labour market. The rate among 60 to 65-year-olds exceeded 38 percent in 2012.

Labour participation by age

Labour participation by age

Gender gap 55 to 60-year-olds narrowing

Female labour participation grew significantly in the 55 to 60-year-old population, but remained stable among their male counterparts after 2009. As a result, the labour participation gender gap in the age category 55–60 has narrowed. In the 60 to 65-year-old population, the labour participation rate increased among men and women and the gender gap has widened somewhat.

Labour participation 55 to 65-year-olds by gender

Labour participation 55 to 65-year-olds by gender

Growth share older unemployed

Last year, there were 143 thousand people in the age category 55–65-year-olds who did not work twelve hours a week or more, but had indicated that they would like to work twelve hours a week or more, i.e. an increase by 21 thousand relative to one year previously. They constitute the so-called unused labour supply in the older population (6.6 percent of 55 to 65-year-olds) and twice as many as in 2002. They also more often belong to the unemployed labour force, i.e. they are available at short notice and actively looking for jobs. Half of older people prepared to work in 2012 were defined as unemployed, versus one third a decade ago.

Unused labour supply 55 to 65-year-olds

Unused labour supply 55 to 65-year-olds

Hendrika Lautenbach and Marian Driessen