Spain offers fewer job opportunities for those over 55


Are you over 55 years old? In Spain it has fewer job opportunities than in the rest of the European Union. In addition, our country is among the regions with the fewest years of working life, according to the ‘Senior Talent Map II’ report, promoted by the Mapfre Foundation’s Agingnomics Research Center. The study reveals that Spain is among the European countries that evolves more slowly when it comes to creating and retaining jobs for the people of between 55 and 70 years, group currently made up of more than 8 million peopleof which about half are active population.

Thus, the Spain’s senior employment rate is 41%, ten points below the European average (60%), being especially low in the group of 55 to 59 years (64%). Except for Sweden (14%) and Portugal (29%), Spain registers the lower rates of growth of the employed population older than 55 years (56%). Spain also occupies the fifth position in terms of the share of the employed population over 55 years of age over the entire employed population (19%), and has experienced the second highest growth in senior unemployment in recent years ( +181%) together with Italy (+201%).

In this way, the report indicates that half of the newly unemployed in Spain are seniors, one in three unemployed people is over 50 years of age and one in two are long-term unemployed. The study, presented this Monday, stated that the European labor market currently has fewer young people and more immigrants, women and the elderly, and that in countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden and Portugal the average duration of active life is increasing, especially in Sweden, where its citizens work an average of 42 years, a figure that contrasts with the 31 in Italy, the 33 in Poland and the 34 in Spain.

The report concludes that in all the countries analysed, and especially in Spain, “it is necessary to work more years, especially in occupations in the service sector”. If Spain had the rates of Sweden, with 85% of seniors aged 55 to 59 with a jobcompared to 65% of Spaniards, would register gains in GDP of between five and ten points, according to the report.

It also points out that the extension of the activity will require legislation that keep moving forward on a flexible model of retirement and suggest a change in mindset on the part of all the actors in the labor market, “who must understand that, in that next life, 90 to 100 years, the prolongation of work is going to become an unavoidable necessity”.

The presentation of this report was attended by former minister Fátima Báñez, president of the CEOE Foundation; Ignatius Baeza, Vice President of Fundación Mapfre; and Juan Fernández Palacios, director of the Agingnomics Research Center, as well as Rafael Puyol, Alfonso Jiménez and Iñaki Ortega, co-authors of the research. It uses official sources, such as Eurostat and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey based on data analyzed between 2008 and 2020, and in which more than 15 international professionals and experts have collaborated.

More senior assets

Since 2008 and in the seven countries analyzed in the report have grown the number of active seniors, that is, the number of people who are willing to work, whether or not they have a job. The three countries with the highest rate of senior activity are Sweden (65%), Germany (58%) and Portugal (51%) and the country with the highest growth in active senior male population is Italy (69%), followed by France ( 59%), Poland (55%), Germany (53%), Spain (40%), Portugal (23%) and Sweden (15%). The active population of women is the one that most has grown between 2008 and 2020, with Italy (131%) and Spain (110%) leading the way.

The rate of senior employment, that is, people who are salaried or who have a job as an employee, has also increased in all countries since 2008, which has caused its weight in the population as a whole to increase employee. Sweden (61%), Germany (56%) and Portugal (48%) are the countries with the highest rate of senior employment. In relative values, the country with the best evolution of the employed senior male population is Italy, which from 2008 to 2020 has grown by 87% and whose index participation of this group over the total population is 22%.

It is followed by Poland, with 76% growth and 16% participation; Germany, with 73% and 23%, respectively (the country with the highest participation); France, with 62% and 17%; Spain, with 56% and 19%; Portugal, with 29% and 20%, respectively; and Sweden, with a 14% growth in the employed population over 55 and a 21% share of these people over the total number of employees.

In all countries there is a predominance of wage earners over own-account workerswith Germany (86%), Sweden (84%) and France (81%) at the top, as well as those who work in industrial activities, commerce and public administration, and those who carry out their activity full time, between 70 % and 90% of employed seniors in the countries analyzed.

Except for Germany and Poland, senior unemployment, that is, older people who want to work but cannot find a job, has also increased throughout Europe despite the growth in the numbers of the active and employed population. Spain has the highest rates of senior unemployment in particular, 12% for the group between 55 and 59 years of age, and it is, together with Italy, the country where it has grown the most senior unemployment in recent years, 149% in men and 220% in women.

In Sweden, Germany and Poland, the most frequent unemployment situation is less than one year, while in Portugal, Italy, Spain and France, half of the unemployed are long-term. The weight of self-employment in Spain is very much in line with the rest of the European countries and reaches 15.9% of all workers, compared to 14% of the total of the seven countries analysed. The territory with the highest percentage of self-employed workers over 55 years of age is Italy (21.8%) and the one with the least is Germany (8%).

Establish a grand country pact to encourage senior employment and “nip off the waste of talent from the greatest Spaniards” is the most urgent measure referred to in the report to “extend the working lives of its employees, make second careers a reality, achieve better figures for senior employment in the sections over 60 years of age, increase the number of women in the labor market for seniors and extend the formula of part-time work as a way of permanence in the labor market.

It also proposes further advances in legislation, to improve, among others, the formula to reconcile pension and work, penalize early retirement and early retirement, and promote an express recognition of the rights of generational equality and the fight against labor ageism.


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