Cypriots can anticipate a working life of 37.9 years, the eighth longest in the EU27 and above the EU27 average of 36 years, according to figures published by Eurostat on Wednesday.

These show that a man in Cyprus aged 15 in 2021 can expect to work 41.6 years, which is 3.4 years more than the average for men across the EU (38.2 years).

Women in Cyprus can expect to work for fewer years – 34.1 years, but still above the EU 27 average of 33.7.

Eurostat said that in 2021, the expected average duration of working life for 15-year-olds in the EU was 36.0 years.

Since 2001, the expected average duration of working life steadily increased in the EU, then declined for the first time in 2020 due to the Covid-19 health crisis (from 32.0 years in 2001 to 35.9 years in 2019, then down to 35.6 years in 2020) to come back in 2021 to its pre-pandemic level.

Among EU member states, the expected average duration of working life varied broadly.

In 2021, the highest durations in the EU were recorded in the Netherlands (42.5 years), Sweden (42.3 years) and Denmark (40.3 years).

Cyprus came in eighth, after Finland, Estonia, Germany, and Ireland, and had the longest expected duration of working life among southern European countries.

The lowest durations of working life were recorded in Romania (31.3 years), Italy (31.6 years) and Greece (32.9 years).

For men, the expected duration of working life was on average 38.2 years in the EU, with the longest durations recorded in the Netherlands (44.3 years) and Sweden (43.6 years), and the shortest in Bulgaria (34.6 years) and Romania (35.0 years).

For women, the average duration of working life in the EU was 33.7 years, with the longest durations also recorded in Sweden (41.0 years) and the Netherlands (40.5 years), but the shortest in Italy (26.9 years) and Romania (27.4 years).

Although men are expected to work longer than women, the gender gap has reduced in the EU with the growing participation of women in the labour market (the gender gap was +4.5 years in 2021 compared with +7.0 years in 2001).

In 2021, this gender gap was most pronounced in Italy (+9.1 years), followed by Malta (+8.4 years) and Romania (+7.6 years). Cyprus’ gender gap was 7.5 years – above the EU27 average.

Lithuania was the only EU Member State where the gender gap was negative, with women usually working 1.3 years more than men, while Estonia (+0.1 years), Latvia (+0.8 years) and Finland (+1.1 years) had very small gender gaps.