Luck of the Irish? More Part-Time Employees, Lower Life Expectancy than Rest of EU

A booming economy during the 1990s, fueled by construction projects and increased consumer spending, allowed Ireland to become one of the fastest growing open economies. Like the rest of the world, the Irish economy has suffered in recent years.

With 62.5 percent of the population of Ireland currently in the workforce, a gradual economic recovery is expected to begin in 2011. By 2020, the economically active population is projected to increase by nearly 13 percent, according to a new work force profile written by Jean McCarthy, a doctoral student and part-time lecturer in the Department of Personnel and Employment Relations at the University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Her area of research is focused on understanding organizational decision-maker attitudes toward older workers. She also has strong research interests in a role theoretical analysis of ageist attitudes. Her profile of the Ireland work force was published as part of the Country Profile Series from the Global Perspectives Institute of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College.

McCarthy found that just slightly more than 20 percent of the Irish population is employed part-time, the highest of other EU27 countries. (The EU27 part-time average is 18.2 percent, and the part-time average in the United States is approximately 16 percent). As of December 2009, the unemployment rate in Ireland was approximately 13 percent, with the unemployment rate for men more than 6 percent higher than that of women. The good news is that the employment rate for workers aged 55-65 was higher in Ireland and the UK than in other EU countries.

She noted that approximately 11 percent of the Irish population is aged 65 and older, and the median age in Ireland is 35 years, which is lower than other European countries.

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