One of the solutions that could be used to resource the needs of ageing populations is the encouragement of individuals to extend working lives beyond retirement, often referred to as ‘bridge employment’. Although previous studies provide important insights into individual determinants of bridge employment, there is scant research on the extent to which differences across countries and between genders exist and how these might be explained by economic and societal differences in the pension context. The determinants of participation in bridge employment are investigated among male and female retirees in 16 European countries. Multilevel models are estimated based on data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe project. It was found that where there is high expenditure on pensions there is a lower likelihood of retirees participating in bridge jobs, while strong norms that support working past retirement are positively associated with bridge employment.