Ageing Labour Forces

Ageing Labour Forces

Promises and Prospects

Edited by Philip Taylor

This provocative book considers the changing status of older workers, the evolution of public policy on age and work and the behaviour of employers. It attempts to answer the critical question: in an ageing society, can older workers look forward to the prospect of longer working lives with choice and security and make successful transitions to retirement?

Introduction: The Promise of Ageing Labour Forces

Philip Taylor

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


Philip Taylor INTRODUCTION From debates about the restructuring of economies, to the adjustment of social welfare systems, to redefining the concept of old age, older workers have been at the vanguard of developed economies’ efforts to respond first, to industrial decline and reorganization in the last three decades, and latterly, the so-called looming crisis facing social welfare systems, associated with population ageing. This volume examines the notion of retiring later, considering the evolution of national policymaking and the behaviour of employers, addressing the question of whether older workers can look forward to the prospect of longer working lives with choice and security and make successful transitions to non-work. Listening to policy makers and some commentators might make one optimistic that older workers are on the threshold of a new era of opportunity, a ‘golden age’ of job openings and flexible retirement. This volume tests the validity of this claim, focusing on developments in a small number of industrialized nations: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA. Nowadays, the necessity for economies, and the value for both industry and older people of extending working lives seems to be taken for granted and dissenting voices are seldom heard. Quickly it seems that a remarkable consensus among policy makers, employers, trade unions and social commentators has emerged. This volume takes a close look at the relatively recent shift away from rhetoric and action of early retirement towards that of ‘active ageing’, seeking to understand the...