EU working life report gender gap
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Ireland has one of the worst gender gaps in the EU

19 Dec 2016

According to a recent EU report, Ireland has a gender gap of almost 20pc between men and women aged 35-39 in the labour market.

The average duration of working life in Ireland has increased slowly over the past three years, following the economic crash.

A recent report from Eurostat showed the average number of years in the labour market across EU countries from 2000 to 2015.

Iceland has by far the highest duration of working life, at an average of almost 50 years. Switzerland has the next-highest working life at 44.7 years in 2015.

Ireland’s figures have started to climb slowly in recent years, after dropping dramatically in the wake of the economic crash.

The duration of working life in Ireland was at its highest in 2007 at 40.5 years, before dropping to its lowest of 37.9 in 2011 and 2012.

In 2015, Ireland’s average number of years in the labour market was at 38.9, a full year above the average of all 28 EU countries.

However, the gender gap in Ireland is still a problem.

According to Baiba Grandovska of Eurostat, “Women in Ireland lag notably behind the EU average for activity rates, especially for the 35-39 age group.”

The report shows that less than 9pc of men in Ireland aged 30-34 are not in the labour market, compared to almost 23pc of women in the same age bracket.

This gender gap gets even wider at the 35-39 age group, where less than 8pc of men are outside the labour market compared to 26pc of women.

“On the ranking for activity rates for women in the age group 35-39, Ireland is one of the lowest in the EU,” said Grandovska.

The average duration of working life includes those who are both employed and unemployed, as well as those who have a short working life. Those who are out of work count in the calculation as zero working years, which pulls the national average down.

The average duration of working life across all 28 EU countries has consistently risen since 2003, from 36.4 years to 37.9. Bulgaria had the lowest working life in 2015, at 33.4 years.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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