Majority Of Europeans Not Worried About Getting Older Or Working Longer According To New Eurobarometer Survey

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 00:43 GMT Jump to Comments

A majority of Europeans (53%) believe that there should not be any mandatory retirement age and 1 out of 3 Europeans are willing to work longer themselves, according to the latest euro barometer survey results published last week on the launch of the EU’s year of active and healthy ageing.

According to the data, the past decade saw a 10% rise in employment levels among Europeans between the ages of 55 and 64 and this trend is set to continue. However, rather than resenting the fact most Europeans are okay with working longer or getting older.

A sizeable minority (42%) however are concerned about this development. But numbers on all these data vary widely across member states. The survey shows how definitions of 'young' and 'old' differ significantly across countries. In Malta, Portugal and Sweden, people under 37 years are considered young, whereas in Cyprus and Greece people are considered young up to the age of 50. On average, Europeans believe that we start being regarded as old just before 64 and are no longer considered young from the age of 41.8 years. Perceptions also vary with age and sex – women feel that old age begins slightly later than men (65.0 years versus 62.7 years respectively).

Although the typical pensionable age is 65 years, the average exit age from the labour force in 2009 was about 61.5 years. 42% of Europeans believe that they will be capable of doing the work they are currently doing beyond the age of 65, while 17% expect that they will not be able to carry on in their current job until they are 60. One third of Europeans say that they would like to continue working after they reach retirement age, and the idea of combining a part-time job and a partial pension is more appealing than full retirement to almost two thirds of Europeans.

Active ageing is not just about employment. Around one quarter of Europeans (including those over 55) say they are engaged in voluntary work. In countries where there is less of a volunteering tradition, a higher proportion of people say that they have helped or provided support to other people outside their own household. 36% of Europeans over the age of 55 have provided such support. 15% of respondents over 55 take care of an older family member and 42% have done so in the past.

This data was released on the launch of the European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. It seeks to raise awareness of the contribution of older people to society and to promote measures that create better opportunities for older people to remain active. Lázló Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion pointed out that “people are ready to remain active as they grow older.”

“I am confident that the European year will act as a catalyst to mobilise citizens, stakeholders and decision-makers to take action to promote active ageing and to tackle the challenges of ageing in a positive way," he added

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