Critical Topics in Research and Policy
Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Philip Taylor
Chapter 1: Introduction: older workers in an ageing society
For long-standing students of the relationship between age and the labour market it would hardly seem worth mentioning that until relatively recently an ‘early exit’ culture was pervasive among the industrialized economies, with one or two exceptions. But this still provides an important backdrop to present debates and social policy, having had a hand in shaping attitudes and approaches at a time when the emphasis is increasingly on prolonging working lives. This volume is concerned with the labour market status of older workers and how they should be considered by employers and public policymakers. The volume also aims to contribute to wider public debate, particularly as it pertains to societal representations of older workers and what it means to retire and grow old. Its aim, put simply, was to provide critical commentary in some important areas of social policy and academic debate: emerging public policies for an ageing workforce, employer attitudes and behaviour in a globalizing economy, the promotion and utilization of human capital at older ages, managing ageing workforces, and the concept of generations.