Chapter 9: Conclusions: The Propsects for Ageing Labour Forces
9. Conclusions: the prospects for ageing labour forces Philip Taylor TOWARDS ACTIVE AGEING? Older workers have borne the brunt of industrialized nations’ eﬀorts to grapple with the eﬀects of economic restructuring and population ageing. Although a trend towards early retirement has been a common feature of all the industrialized nations as industry restructured at the end of the twentieth century, the extent of this has varied markedly. This volume contains examples of where the participation of older workers declined, but not markedly so (Japan and the USA), and extreme examples of early exit (France, Germany and the Netherlands). But quickly, early retirement has been abandoned as its costs escalated, deﬁciencies were identiﬁed and new priorities associated with population ageing emerged. It is an unpalatable truth that many European governments in particular have been forced to accept that ageing populations and large scale early retirement are incompatible. Although early retirement is a tool that, it seems, industry defaults to, and while a period of almost a quarter of a century out of the workplace is attractive to many individuals, current thinking is that this is not tenable if industrialized economies are to remain competitive (European Commission, 2005a). The European Commission (2003) has estimated that an increase in the eﬀective age of retirement of one year would reduce the expected increase in expenditure on public pensions by between 0.6 and 1 percentage points of GDP. The economic gains alone resulting from ‘active ageing’ could be enormous. However,...
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