How can we reverse falling labour market participation rates in Europe?

ShashiShashi Mumbai, IndiaPosts: 196 admin
edited September 2019 in Work
Future labour market participation rates across all demographic groups are expected to fall for most countries in the period up to 2030. This is mainly the outcome of a workforce that is ageing as the size of the older workers’ group is increasing while that of prime-aged workers decreasing. Over the forecast period, this tendency is not expected to cause a decline in the workforce as population is increasing but it may be a matter of time that Europe’s labour force will start declining.

This brings about a number of interesting questions. For example, are measures, such as the extension of working life, flexible forms of work, and support to female participation, which focus on specific groups of workers, enough to resolve the overall problem?

Moreover, if this is the situation we are faced with, will Europe be able to support high-value-added, knowledge-intensive growth? Will its workforce be adaptable to the changing world of work?


  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 719 admin
    I'll chip in here from a Dutch perspective.

    The Netherlands has one of the highest part-time working rates in the world. About half the workforce. The part-time rate is especially high among women:
    68% of women in the Netherlands currently work for a least one hour per week; only the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland have higher percentages. On the other hand, women in the Netherlands much more often work part-time than women in other countries; 75% of working women in the Netherlands work for less than 35 hours per week, almost twice the average in the EU-15. Moreover, the average working week of those in employment in the Netherlands shows virtually no sign of increasing.

    Dutch women differ from women in other countries as regards their preferences. In the Netherlands, only a quarter of working women express a preference for a full-time job, compared with more than half in other countries. There are still large groups of women in other countries who would prefer to work part-time, with 20-34 hours per week being seen as the optimum; for many of them, however, the associated loss of income is a reason for not fulfilling this desire.

    (Quote from The Netherlands Institute of Social Research, which, in Dutch, has the rather Sovietesque-sounding name "Social and Cultural Planning Bureau".)

    The Netherlands is 34th out of 34 OECD countries in terms of workers who feel overworked. Yet Dutch workers are extremely productive:
    The latest OECD figures on this topic show that whereas the productivity of EU workers generates an average of 32,10 euros per hour -- based on GDP output against labour input (hours worked) -- Dutch workers produce an average of 45,80 euros per hour.

    Although productivity has slowed in recent years.
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