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 5: Age and work in different labour market contexts

Jonas Edlund and Mikael Stattin

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


Against a background of ageing populations and expected labour shortages, an important social policy objective in many industrialized societies today is to increase labour force participation among older people, partly by decreasing the prevalence of early exit from work and also by postponing the age of retirement. The means of reaching this goal have hither to mainly concerned supply-side measures, and many countries are today reforming social security programmes in order to turn away from ‘wasteful externalisation practices’ of age management that have sparked the trend towards early exit (Reday-Mulvey, 2006). The most obvious examples of this are the introduction of public policy reforms aiming to strengthen financial and work incentives in public old age pension programmes, abandoning mandatory pension ages, closing down special early retirement programmes and restricting access to early exit pathways such as disability benefits.

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