Over 55s active in labour market

PORTUGAL IS among 10 European Union countries which have the highest percentage of people aged over 55 in work.

According to an EU Commission study, 50.1 per cent of people aged between 55 and 64 are in work.

The average EU employment rate among the 55 to 64 age group bracket has risen from 30 per cent in 2001 to 44 per cent in 2006.

Almost all member states are taking measures to encourage employees to put off retirement, but, claims the Commission, it isn’t enough.

“Active (employment) inclusion measures such as pension reforms and tax incentives have improved the incentive to remain in work past 55 but even so more people need to stay in work,” states the report.

State pensions

This is because pension funds have not performed so well in recent years, social security and state pension funds have fallen in real terms in the past 20 years as birth rates fall and the baby boom generation of the 1960s reaches pensionable age over the next 20 years.

The EU has defined as its goal for 2010 that each member state should have at least 50 per cent of its 55-64 age groups in gainful employment.

Sweden has the highest number of working oldies (69.6 per cent), followed by Denmark (60.7 per cent), Estonia (58.5 per cent), the United Kingdom (57.4 per cent), Finland (54.5 per cent), Cyprus (53.6 per cent), Lithuania (53.3 per cent) and Ireland (53.1 per cent).

Poland stood at the bottom of the pile with 28.1 per cent, while Malta had 30 per cent and Belgium 32 per cent.

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