According to a report by ECO, the average expected working life of 15-year-olds in the European Union (EU) was 36 years old last year. Since 2001, this number has been increasing constantly, having stopped only in 2020 due to Covid-19: from 23 years old in 2002 it went to 35.9 in 2019, and then to 35.6 in 2020.
However, in 2021, this indicator returned to pre-pandemic levels. Portugal is in the top half of the EU countries where the working age population spends more years working, being above the European average, with an average duration of 37.6 years in 2021, according to Eurostat data.
Portugal occupies the 10th place among the EU countries with the longest working lives. The top spot on the podium belongs to the Netherlands (42.5 years), followed by Sweden (42.3 years) and Denmark (40.3 years). These are the only EU countries whose average expected working life exceeds 40 years.
In contrast, the shortest durations were recorded in Romania (31.3 years), Italy (31.6 years) and Greece (32.9 years).
Analysing the population by gender, Portuguese men have a longer work context: in 2021, Eurostat data point to a working life of 38.6 years. Women, on the other hand, spend 36.6 years of their lives working.