In 2021, the expected average duration of working life for 15-year-olds in the EU was 36.0 years. In Latvia the figure was 36.4 years, with males likely to work 36.8 years and females 36.0 years.
Lithuania was the only EU Member State where the gender gap was negative, with women usually working 1.3 years more than men, while Estonia (+0.1 years), Latvia (+0.8 years) and Finland (+1.1 years) had very small gender gaps.
Since 2001, the expected average duration of working life steadily increased in the EU, then declined for the first time in 2020 with regard to the COVID-19 health crisis (from 32.0 years in 2001 to 35.9 years in 2019, then down to 35.6 years in 2020) to come back in 2021 to its pre-pandemic level.
Among the EU Member States, the expected average duration of working life varied broadly depending on the countries and their geographical situation in Europe. In 2021, the highest durations in the EU were recorded in the Netherlands (42.5 years), Sweden (42.3 years) and Denmark (40.3 years). By contrast, the lowest durations of working live were recorded in Romania (31.3 years), Italy (31.6 years) and Greece (32.9 years).
For men, the expected duration of working life was on average 38.2 years in the EU, with the longest durations recorded in the Netherlands (44.3 years) and Sweden (43.6 years), and the shortest in Bulgaria (34.6 years) and Romania (35.0 years). For women, the average duration of working life in the EU was 33.7 years, with the longest durations also recorded in Sweden (41.0 years) and the Netherlands (40.5 years), but the shortest in Italy (26.9 years) and Romania (27.4 years).