The explanation, from Eurostat:
The expected duration of working life in the European Union (EU) stood at 35.4 years on average in 2015, up by 1.9 years compared with 2005. In detail over this 10-year period, duration of working life has increased more rapidly for women (32.8 years in 2015 compared with 30.2 years in 2005, or +2.6 years) than for men (37.9 years in 2015 vs. 36.7 years in 2005, or +1.2 year). Among the EU Member States, working life in 2015 was expected to be longest on average in Sweden (41.2 years) and shortest in Italy (30.7 years).
This information is issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. This indicator “duration of working life” measures the number of years a person aged 15 is expected to be active (either employed or unemployed) in the labour market throughout his/her life.
Working life more than ten years longer in Sweden than in Italy
Across the EU Member States, the average working life was in 2015 expected to be the longest in Sweden (41.2 years), ahead of the Netherlands (39.9 years), Denmark (39.2 years), the United Kingdom (38.6 years) and Germany (38.0 years). At the opposite end of the scale, working life was expected to last less than 33 years in Italy (30.7 years), Bulgaria (32.1 years), Greece (32.3 years), Belgium, Croatia, Hungary and Poland (32.6 years each) as well as Romania (32.8 years). In all Member States except Lithuania, duration of working life was expected in 2015 to be longer for men than for women.
Largest increase of duration of working life in Malta, smallest in Denmark
Between 2005 and 2015, the expected duration of working life has increased in all EU Member States, albeit to different extents. It has risen the most in Malta (+5.1 years), followed by Hungary (+4.2 years), Luxembourg (+3.1 years), Estonia (+3.0 years) and Lithuania (+2.9 years), while it remained nearly the same in Denmark (+0.2 year), Portugal (+0.3 year) and Ireland (+0.4 year). The overall increase in duration of working life is generally driven across Member States by the change in women’s duration of working life. This latter has increased between 2005 and 2015 in all EU Member States, notably in Malta (+8.6 years), Spain (+5.1 years), Luxembourg (+4.7 years), Hungary (+4.0 years), Cyprus (+3.6 years), Lithuania (+3.5 years), Germany and Austria (+3.4 years each). In contrast, duration of working life for men has dropped in five Member States: Cyprus (-1.9 years), Greece (1.4 years), Ireland (-1.0 year), Spain (-0.7 year), and Portugal (-0.6 year).