As has already been indicated in the age profiles, employed old-age workers represent a special group. There exists much more variation within the regimes regarding the employment rates of older workers, women, and the low-skilled. Differences in the extent to which these three groups are integrated into the labour market basically determine differences in the overall employment rate. With respect to the 55-64 age cohort, Belgium has the lowest employment rate of the EU-15 (32 per cent) while Sweden has the highest (almost 70 per cent). In the EU-27 Poland and Malta still have particular problems regarding the labour market position of older cohorts. Since the end of the 1990s, the employment rate among older workers has been increasing strongly in Finland, but also in some Continental welfare states, with the Netherlands taking the lead (Fig. 7.23).
Figure 7.21. Age employment profiles in selected countries, 1987 and 2007.
Note: Although female employment increased, women often only work part-time in the Continental regime, especially in the Netherlands where the share of female part-time employment reaches levels of up to 70 per cent. Female part-time work is less common in the new Member States and the Mediterranean regime. Whereas the UK, Denmark, and Sweden reach continental European levels, Ireland and Finland have lower levels.
Figure 7.22. Share of female part-time employment, 1992-2007 (part-time employment as % of total female employment).
Figure 7.23. Employment rate of older workers (55-64 years), 1987-2007. Source: Eurostat.
For the average exit age from the labourforce, differences between regimes continue to persist. The Anglo-Saxon countries and Sweden show in general the highest average exit age for men and women (64.7 for women in Ireland, 64.2 for men in Sweden in 2007) while the other regime types depict lower level. However, the Continental regime and the new Member States show an increase in average exit age that is less the case for the other regime types. The biggest increase has been in Belgium, particularly for women, from 55.9 to 61.9. Spain is the only country of the Mediterranean regime with a rise in female exit age of more than two years between 2001 and 2007 (Eurostat).