Table of Contents

Older Workers in an Ageing Society

Older Workers in an Ageing Society

Critical Topics in Research and Policy

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Philip Taylor

Prolonging working lives is high on the agenda of policy makers in most of the world’s major industrialized nations. This book explains how they are keen to tackle issues associated with the ageing of populations, namely the funding of pension systems and predictions concerning a dwindling labour supply. Yet the recent history of older workers has primarily been one of premature exit from the labour force in the form of redundancy or early retirement. Add to this a previously plentiful supply of younger labour and it is clear that much of industry will be unprepared for the challenges of ageing workforces.

Chapter 1: Introduction: older workers in an ageing society

Philip Taylor

Subjects: social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, labour policy


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.