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?

Chapter 9: Conclusions: The Propsects for 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


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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