The FINANCIAL — For the first time since the financial crisis, the employment rate of the population aged 20 to 64 in the European Union (EU) increased in 2014, reaching 69.2% but not yet its 2008 peak (70.3%).
A similar pattern can be observed for men: their employment rate has hit 75.0% in 2014, up compared with 2013 but still below its 2008 level. In contrast, the employment rate of women has continuously risen since 2010 to 63.5% in 2014, above its previous 2008 peak of 62.8%. The Europe 2020 strategy2 target is to reach a total employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 of at least 75% in the EU by 2020. This objective has been translated into national targets in order to reflect the situation and possibilities of each Member State to contribute to the common goal.
Similarly to that of women, the employment rate of persons aged 55 to 64 in the EU has grown steadily over the last years, from 38.4% in 2002 to 51.8% in 2014. The greater participation of older workers is also one of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy on employment, according to EU.
Four EU Member States already achieved their Europe 2020 overall employment target
Compared with 2013, the employment rate for those aged 20 to 64 increased in 2014 in almost every Member State, and most strongly in Hungary, Portugal, Croatia and Lithuania. Employment rates above 75% were recorded in Sweden (80.0%), Germany (77.7%), the United Kingdom (76.2%), the Netherlands (76.1%) and Denmark (75.9%). On the opposite, employment rates below 60% were observed in Greece (53.3%), Croatia (59.2%), Spain and Italy (both 59.9%). Four Member States have already met or exceeded their 2020 national targets for this indicator in 2014: Germany, Croatia, Malta and Sweden.
Narrowest gender employment gap in Finland, widest in Malta
Employment rates of men and women continued to vary considerably in many Member States in 2014. The difference between the employment rate of women and that of men aged 20-64 was lowest in Finland (72.1% for women vs. 74.0% for men, or -1.9 percentage points), Lithuania (-2.5 pp), Latvia and Sweden (both -4.6 pp). At the opposite end of the scale, the largest difference between the employment rate of women and that of men was observed in Malta (51.9% for women vs. 80.3% for men, or -28.4 pp). Big gaps were also recorded in Italy (-19.4 pp), Greece (-18.3 pp), the Czech Republic (-17.5 pp) and Romania (-16.7 pp). At EU level, the difference between the employment rate of women aged 20-64 (63.5%) and that of men aged 20-64 (75.0%) was -11.5 pp in 2014, compared with -17.3 pp in 2002.
Continuous increase in employment rate for those aged 55 to 64 in the EU
From 2002 onwards, the employment rate of people aged 55-64 in the EU has grown steadily to reach 51.8% in 2014, compared with 38.4% in 2002. The growth was stronger for women (from 29.1% in 2002 to 45.2% in 2014) than for men (48.2% in 2002 vs. 58.9% in 2014). As a consequence, the gap between the employment rate of women and men aged 55-64 in the EU has been reduced, from a 19.1 percentage points difference in 2002 to a 13.7 pp difference in 2014.
Almost 3 persons out of 4 aged 55 to 64 in Sweden have a job
In 2014, at least half of the population aged 55 to 64 was in employment in twelve EU Member States. The highest employment rate for this age group was observed in Sweden (74.0%), followed by Germany (65.6%), Estonia (64.0%), Denmark (63.2%), the United Kingdom (61.0%) and the Netherlands (60.8%). On the other hand, the lowest employment rates were registered in Greece (34.0%), Slovenia (35.4%), Croatia (36.3%) and Malta (37.7%). Compared with 2013, the employment rate for those aged 55 to 64 increased in 2014 in all EU Member States, except Greece, Croatia and Cyprus.