In international comparisons, the average exit age from the labour force is often used to measure the effective retirement age.

However, the effective retirement age and the average exit age from the labour force are not the same thing, even though they are sometimes considered equal in international comparisons. For example, people may exit the labour force without retiring or retire and still continue working.

The average exit age from the labour force and employment rates are significant financial and employment policy indicators. They are also generally employed as (EU) pension policy indicators, even if they do not directly measure the effective retirement age. Eurostat and OECD publish related international statistical comparisons.

According to Eurostat’s indicator, the average exit age from the labour force in Finland was 61.7 years in 2009. Finland ranks in the middle in the EU. In other Nordic countries the average exit age is higher.

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Employment rates of 55-64-year-olds in Europe

The employment rates depict the percentage of employed people of a country’s population. In the graphs below, the employment rates of 55-64-year-old men and women have been presented relative to the total population of that age in different European countries, as well as the average of the EU28 countries. The graphs are based on Eurostat’s database, which includes employment rates collected from the labour force surveys in the different countries.

It is more common for women in Finland to work than for women in other European countries. The employment rate (63.4%) of 55-64-year-old women in 2017 is also considerably higher in Finland and the other Nordic countries than the EU28 average (50.8%). In addition, the employment rate of elderly women is higher than that of men in Finland, which is exceptional throughout Europe.

In the last decade, the change in the employment rates of 55-64-year-old women compared to that of men has been more rapid in most European countries (here and there, only slightly more than one third of the women of this age were in gainful employment in 2008). In that time period, the average change in women’s employment rates was 14.1 per cent in the EU28 countries and 7.6 per cent in Finland.

The employment rate of men of the same age was a few percentage points lower in Finland than in the EU28 countries on average (61.7%) in 2017. From 2008 to 2017, the employment rate of elderly men rose by 4.6 percentage points in Finland while the equivalent average increase in the rest of Europe was 8.9 percentage points.

The employment rates of men aged 55-64 years improved the most in Germany and Italy and decreased the most in Greece. Among the Nordic countries, the highest employment rates of elderly men are found in Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

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