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 17: Older workers in a global economy: life cycle migration and knowledge transfer

Stephen Little and Frank Go

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


This chapter examines the role of older workers as a development resource and a medium of knowledge transfer. The global economy depends on an increasingly mobile workforce. Individuals relocate during their working career, through choice and economic necessity. Often such economic migration draws down skills at every level from the less-developed periphery to the more-developed centre. Older workers also face the management of their transition from employment to retirement and increasingly this involves them in life cycle migration choices. Relocation for retirement often transfers individuals and families away from the core to less-developed regions familiar from leisure travel. The potential impact of such incomers is not limited to the contribution from retirement lifestyle expenditure. As incomes from pensions and savings become less predictable, many potential retirees are seeking supplementary income streams. By bringing their skills and experiences from the core areas of economic activity to regions which are often on the margins, they represent a potential development resource through both direct economic activity at their new locations, and through the transfer of their skills and experiences to the local community.

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