How long can Europeans expect to work for? 5 economic stories to read this week

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Tom Crowfoot, Senior Digital Marketing Apprentice, Formative Content


  • This weekly round-up brings you key economic stories from the past seven days.
  • Top stories: European retirement ages; Return to cash; Gig economy gender pay gap; Interest rates reducing house prices; The EU’s fastest-growing jobs.

1. This is how long people across Europe can expect to work

Despite fluctuations between countries across the continent, the next generation of Europeans can expect to work for an average of 36 years. There is a significant gender gap across Europe, though, between the average working lives of men and women.

Chart showing expected duration of EU working lives in 2021. Image: Eurostat

Longer average working lives can be attributed in part to an ageing world population and the economic and demographic impacts of this. Learn more about how long Europeans can expect to work and why.

2. A return to cash in the UK

Inflation in Britain hit a 40-year high in July and data suggests people are responding by using more cash in order to better manage household budgets. The Post Office has reported a record level of cash withdrawals recently, rising by almost 8% month-on-month.

Debit or credit card transactions overtook cash back in 2017, as contactless payments made digital payments easier for consumers.

Read more on why Britons are reverting back to using cash.

3. Men make 48% more than women in some sectors of the gig economy, study shows

A study of freelance workers in the US has revealed how much worse the gender pay gap is for freelance work compared to full-time employment. On average across industries, a new study found that men charged $22.28 per hour more than women.

A seperate survey by accounting and invoicing software firm FreshBooks found that 70% of women considering self-employment were doing so to escape workplace discrimination and corporate glass ceilings, but the new data suggests they might not experience the change they were hoping for.

Explore the differences in the gender pay gap across industries in the gig economy.

4. Will rising interest rates pull house prices back down?

Since 2010, the cost of buying a home in the EU has risen by 45% while rent has risen by 17%, according to research by the European Commission. But, this could be about to change according to the European Central Bank, which warned in May that house prices could start to drop if mortgage rates rise faster than inflation.

House prices in the EU have been rising faster than the cost of renting. Image: Eurostat

This trend in rising costs hasn’t been isolated to EU countries, as house prices climbed in 2020 in three-quarters of the 60 countries included in the IMF’s Global House Price Index.

Read more on how rising interest rates could impact house prices.

5. What are the EU’s fastest-growing jobs now? And what will they be in the future?

Despite Europe’s economy facing tough times, Eurozone unemployment rates held stable month on month at 6.6% in June, according to Eurostat. But, which jobs are growing fastest?

Hospitality and travel sector jobs have grown most in the EU in the last year. Image: Eurostat

Jobs in hospitality and travel are growing fastest in the 27 member bloc, according to Eurostat. This is likely due to people socializing and travelling again as COVID-19 restrictions eased.

Discover more about the EU job market and where it’s headed in the future.

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