According to a study, the German population spends an average of almost four decades in working life from the time they start working until they retire. Nevertheless: the total working life is low compared to the EU.
According to a new study, the amount of time spent working in Germany is shorter than in any other EU country except Luxembourg. Employees in Germany work an estimated 52,662 hours on average over the course of their lives, as the Munich Roman Herzog Institute (RHI) calculated for the study.
In the 27 EU countries, on the other hand, there is an average of 57,342 hours. According to the study, Estonians spend the most time working, with an estimated 71,331 hours.
The institute is the think tank of the Bavarian Business Association and the metal employers’ associations in the Free State. The reason for the study was the discussions about the shortage of skilled workers, the four-day week and the increase in the retirement age. The authors used data from the OECD and the EU statistics agency Eurostat for the calculations.
More years, but fewer hours
Across Europe there are huge differences in both annual and lifetime working hours. When looking purely at the decades a person spends on average in their working life, Germany is in the top third at 39.3 years. Icelanders work the longest at 45.4 years, compared to the EU average of 36.5 years. The fewest years in the job are in Romania at just 31.5 years.
In Germany, according to the RHI, an above-average proportion of 77.3 percent of the working-age population is actually working; the average for the EU-27 is 70.3 percent. On the other hand, according to the study, annual working hours in Germany are very low at an estimated 1,340 hours; This explains the low estimate of the total number of hours in an entire working life.
The study also included data from some non-EU countries such as Great Britain and Iceland. The authors point out that the data from the individual countries are comparable to a limited extent due to differences in statistical collection and are therefore estimates.
“Silver worker” against the shortage of skilled workers?
In view of the shortage of skilled workers and the financial burden on pension funds, the authors, like many economists, advocate a further increase in the retirement age beyond 67, which should apply from 2031. They also recommend that the federal government provide more incentives for voluntary work – including part-time – at retirement age. The so-called “silver workers” could at least partially compensate for the shortage of skilled workers.
The clients from the Bavarian economy point out that, according to surveys, life satisfaction is also high in several countries with long working lives – such as Switzerland. “Working longer and more does not have to lead to a poorer work-life balance and lower life satisfaction,” said RHI CEO Randolf Rodenstock. “The desire of many people to work less and retire earlier does not fit in with the times of demographic change.”