Duration of working life - annual data (lfsi_dwl_a)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Unit F3: Labour market and lifelong learning

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 25/07/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 25/07/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 25/07/2017

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The duration of working life indicator (DWL) measures the number of years a person aged 15 is expected to be active in the labour market throughout his/her life.

This indicator has been developed and produced for analysis and monitoring under the Europe 2020 employment strategy. The indicator should complement other indicators by focussing on the entire life cycle of active persons and persons in employment rather than on specific states in the life cycle, such as youth unemployment or early withdrawal from the labour force. The development of life course policies is important in order to achieve more flexibility in the working life according to different stages of the life cycle.

This indicator is derived from demographic data (life tables published in Eurostat online dataset demo_mlifetable) and labour market data (activity rates defined as in the online dataset lfsi_emp_a but with unpublished detail by single age groups). 

3.2. Classification system

The definitions of indicators conform to the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

3.3. Coverage - sector

The indicator DWL covers all economic sectors.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The DWL indicator measures the number of years a person at a given age is expected to be active in the labour market. In principle it can be calculated for any age x as the number of years a person at a given age x is expected to be active in the labour market. In that case it is defined as:

(1)      dx = Tax / lx                                         


(2)       Tax = Sumzy=0 (Lay)    sum of expected years in labour force at age x


(3)    La= Lx . rx        average number of active persons at age x

and with

 lx  :          Number of survivors at the beginning of an age interval

 L:          Number of person years living between x and x+1

 La:          Average number of active persons at age x

 r:           Activity rate at age x (0 ≤  ≤ 1). The activity rate is the economic active population divided by the total population at each age and gender. The economic active population comprises employed and unemployed persons.

 Ta:         Sum of working years expected at age x

 x  :          Minimum age

 z  :          Maximum age

The age z can be considered as the age beyond which workers end to perform remunerated activities on a regular basis, while the age xcan be considered as the age at which most young people are likely to become engaged to the labour market. For the purpose of the DWL indicator these thresholds are set at 15 and 99 years of age.

The formulas above are used to calculate the DWL of men and women in each country. The DWL for the total men+women population is calculated as a weighted average of the DWL of men and women, using as weighting coefficients the population aged 15 of each sex. The DWL for the European aggregates are also calculated as weighted averages of the DWL for the Member States, using as weighting coefficients the population aged 15.

The two data sources used are:

  • Life tables available from Eurostat to calculate the survival functions
  • Labour force survey (LFS) activity rates by single age group

For further details see attachment in section 'annex'.

3.5. Statistical unit

For demographic data: individuals

For labour market data: individuals living in private households

3.6. Statistical population

The EU-LFS results cover the total population usually residing in Member States, except for persons living in collective or institutional households. While demographic data are gathered for all age groups, questions relating to labour market status are restricted to persons in the age group of 15 years or older. In the EFTA countries participating in LFS, i.e. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, population data are not provided for the age-groups outside the scope of labour market questions. The EU-LFS covers all industries and occupations.

For more details and exceptions, please consult please consult the EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Methodology.

3.7. Reference area

European Union, Euro area, EU Member States, Candidate Countries, EFTA Countries (except for Liechtenstein). Data for Cyprus refer only to the areas of Cyprus controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Since 2014, data for France include also the French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, La Réunion), with the exception of Mayotte.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data are published for years 2000 onwards.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top


5. Reference Period Top

For demographic data, the reference period is the calendar year.

The EU-LFS is designed as a continuous quarterly survey with interviews spread uniformly over all weeks of a quarter.  The reference week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. From 2004, in all countries providing quarterly data, the quarterly sample is spread uniformly over all weeks of the quarter. The reference quarter is the calendar quarter except for Ireland and the United Kingdom (until 2006), which use the seasonal quarter (Dec-Feb, Mar-May, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov). Annual results are calculated averaging quarterly data.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

For demographic data, data are collected on voluntary basis.

For labour market data, the EU-LFS is based on European legislation since 1973. It's implementation is governed by legislative acts of the Council and Parliament, as well as of the Commission. The principal legal act is the Council Regulation (EC) No. 577/98. The implementation rules are specified in the successive Commission regulations. This is the main regulation with provisions on design, survey characteristics and decision making processes. For more details on the regulations, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Main features and legal basis.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

For demographic data, the Joint demographic data collection is carried out in co-operation with the UNSD.

For labour market data, data sharing is not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

For demographic data, there are no special provisions for confidentiality in data treatment because no individual data are treated.

For labour market data, the EU-LFS microdata as received by Eurostat from the national statistical institutes does not contain any administrative information such as names or addresses that would allow direct identification. Access to this microdata is nevertheless strictly controlled and limited to specified Eurostat staff. After data treatment, records are aggregated for all further use.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

There is no release calendar.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Estimates are calculated twice a year. The estimates for year Y are first released in summer of year Y+1. The data available at that time are the LFS data for year Y and the life tables for year Y-1. The calculation uses the life tables for Y-1 as a provisional proxy for the life tables for year Y. These estimates are revised six months later, at that time both the LFS data and life tables for year Y are available.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Not applicable.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

The DWL is one of the indicators used in the Joint Assessment Framework in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The methodology used for this DWL indicator follows the research work of Hytti H. and I. Nio (2004), ‘Monitoring the employment strategy and the duration of active working life’, Social security and health research: working papers 38, Finnish Ministry of Labour, see the annex below.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Regarding demographic data, no quality documentation are available.

Regarding LFS, please consult the  EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage.

The EU-LFS disseminates also publications on the methodology of the survey. For more information please consult: Quality reports and methodological publications.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Regarding demographic data, please refer to the ESMS page on Mortality (demo_mor).

Regarding LFS data, please refer to the ESMS page on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)' (employ).

11.2. Quality management - assessment

The DWL indicators provide sufficiently accurate and easily understandable results. They:

- are highly stable over time, even for single ages

- show great continuity over the lifespan

- react directly to changes of activity rates and working hours

- and reveal the expected differences between gender, ages and countries

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Relevance is high. Indicator DWL is produced at the request of the Employment Committee indicators group for the Joint Assessment Framewok in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

The indicator is estimated explicitly to meet the request of the Employment Committee, as regards model used, timeliness of publication, breakdowns available, lenght of time series, etc.

12.3. Completeness

As life tables and LFS data are needed for the production of the DWL indicator, completeness of the dataset is limited to the data availability from both sources.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Not assessed.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The DWL for year Y is first published in summer Y+1.

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable, as there is no release calendar.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Regarding demographic data, Eurostat requests to all countries demographic statistics based on the concept of usual resident population.

Regarding labour market data, comparability is ensured by the use of a common calculation method and a harmonised data source. EU-LFS is harmonised through a common Council regulation ((EC) No 577/98), common variable definition (Commission Regulation (EC) No 430/2005), common explanatory notes (The European Union Labour Force Survey. Methods and definitions - 2001) and common regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) No 1897/2000) regarding the definition of unemployment and the twelve principles of questionnaire.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Comparaibility over time is ensured by use of the same calculation method for all the series and the same data source.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Not applicable.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Not applicable.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not estimated.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

The DWL for year Y is first released in summer Y+1 and then revised six months later. Afterwards data are not revised. Exceptionally there could be revisions of source data used for the calculation, i.e. life tables data or LFS data, e.g. if new population figures become available after a population census. In that case the DWL for past periods is calculated again with the most updated data from the sources.

17.2. Data revision - practice

If some data are published and it is know at publication time that those data will be revised later a flag 'p' for provisional is used.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

As explained above, the DWL indicator combines demographic data from life tables with labour market data from the EU-LFS.

As regards the life tables, data are collected by Eurostat from the National Statistical Institutes and they are based on administrative data sources.

As regards the EU Labour Force Survey, for more information please consult the  EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage. The activity rates taken into consideration are the average over four quarterly observed rates in the year considered. 'Spring' data (quarter 1 or 2) are used in case no quarterly LFS data are available (see footnotes in Annex "Monitoring the employment strategy and the duration of active working life - Average exit age from the labour force").

The Labour Force Survey is a rotating random sample survey of persons in private households.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data for life tables are collected annually.

Data for LFS are collected quarterly. For the purpose of the DWL calculation, quarterly LFS are averaged throughout the year.

18.3. Data collection

The indicator DWL uses data collected for demographic statistics (life tables) and LFS. See the metadata for table demo_mlifetable (demo_mor) and the main indicators lfsi.

18.4. Data validation

See the metadata for table demo_mlifetable (demo_mor) and the main indicators lfsi.

18.5. Data compilation

See the metadata for table demo_mlifetable (demo_mor) and the main indicators lfsi.

18.6. Adjustment

The model described in section 3.4. is very sensitive to irregular behaviour of activity rates. Irregular activity rates data for age groups above 50 as well as missing values were a problem in smaller EU countries with a limited LFS sample size. In those cases, irregularities in the LFS activity rates estimates were smoothed out efficiently wit a predictor model.

19. Comment Top


Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Monitoring the employment strategy and the duration of working life