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 16: Managing older workers in an ageing society

Donald M. Atwater

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

Extract

Managing labour supply is a topic that seems to be a simple proposition until one starts counting the number of potential manager and worker groups and watching how they interact. It quickly becomes difficult to determine who is managing whom. The diagram in Figure 16.1 is a reminder that a specific national labour market reflects the power of workers, businesses, pubic policymakers, and other exogenous players (such as labour unions, and labour markets in other countries). Not shown but also important are sporadic events, disruptive changes and shocks (such as weather patterns, economic crises, inflation, expectations, macroeconomic cycles, exchange rates, and trade), ageing and demographic changes, innovation and technology cycles. Over time the power of the various players in a labour market also varies. In periods of growth worker shortages shift power from employers to employees.

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