For more than half a century, Europe has been moving towards its homogenization in terms of citizens' rights and obligations. However, there are still large differences within the European Union (EU) in basic issues such as social rights, taxes and even in the number of years a person must work before retiring.
According to Eurostat, the average expected duration of people's working life in the EU (meant the number of years that 15-year-olds are expected to work during their life) was 36.2 years. This is a growing figure, according to the statistical office: it is 0.3 years longer than in 2017 and 3.3 years longer than in 2000.
The expected duration of working life varied a lot among Member States, ranging from 31.8 years in Italy (the lowest value), 32.4 in Croatia and 32.9 in Greece to 39.9 years in Denmark, 40.5 in the Netherlands and 41.9 in Sweden.
Those are the most striking data regarding the European Union. Outside the EU, there are countries where working life is even longer: Switzerland (42.7 years) and Iceland, which is where people work more years (46.3 years).
Also outside the EU but at the other extreme of the scale Turkey (with 29.4 years of average working life) and Montenegro (32 years) are located.
In Finland citizens are expected to work 38.6 years on average. This value is clearly above the European average mentioned (36.2 years) and that continues to rise. In fact, there are only five countries in the EU where people are expected to work longer than in Finland. Those are Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Germany.
The evolution is clearly ascending: in 2009 the expected working life duration in Finland was 36.9 years; 37.4 years in 2012 and 38 years in 2017, according to Eurostat figures.
Eurostat also calculated that men are expected to work longer than women during their life: on average, the average expected working life for men in the EU is 38.6 years and for women 33.7. In Finland, men are expected to work 39.3 years and women 38 years.
If you want to consult detailed data and the evolution for each country in the last decade, you can find the figures HERE