Working conditions of workers of different ages

21 December 2017
Executive summary in 22 languages



Demographic change is changing the face of working life across the EU. The increased demand on a shrinking pool of workers to provide for the social needs of an ageing population is leading to increases in the employment rate of older workers and a lengthening of working life. Policy reforms have – on the whole – focused on raising the statutory retirement age and providing financial incentives for older workers to remain in work beyond retirement age. However, a range of other factors also influence workers’ decision to continue working into old age – including health and well-being, work–life balance, career prospects and job security, and working conditions such as autonomy, hours of work and psychosocial aspects of the workplace. This report analyses these factors in depth for the 28 EU Member States, using data from the latest European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS 2015) and in the context of Eurofound’s concept of ‘sustainable work over the life course’. 

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    Working conditions of workers of different ages

    Demographic change is increasing the number of older workers in employment in Europe. In order for all of them to work beyond 55 or even after the pension age, it is necessary to identify what are the factors preventing or helping workers to have a sustainable work.

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  • Executive summary

    Reference No: 
    Catalogue info

    Working conditions of workers of different ages


    Many factors influence sustainable work: individual characteristics, work-related elements, social norms and the institutional context. This report focuses on the role of working conditions in shaping sustainable work over the life course, using data from Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS 2015). The report investigates working conditions for different age groups, and links these conditions to three sustainable work outcomes: work–life balance, health and well-being, and career prospects. It also investigates differences in working conditions on the basis of gender, occupation and country. 

    Available in 22 languages for download


Part of the series

  • European Working Conditions Survey 2015

    ​Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the 2015 EWCS. The survey was first carried out in 1991.

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