Older Workers in an Ageing Society
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Older Workers in an Ageing Society

Critical Topics in Research and Policy

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.
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Chapter 8: The ageing workforce, human capital and the Bermuda triangle: an interdependent analysis

Gerard Evers and Peter Ester


These challenges are also partly interdependent. In this chapter we examine these forces and propose some solutions. First, then, the OECD workforce is ageing. The demographic profile will change rapidly and radically. Around 2000 approximately 15 per cent of the population of the OECD countries was aged over 65; but by 2030, approximately 25 per cent will be ‘old’. Also the workforce itself is ageing. Next, in the coming decades most OECD countries will be confronted with significant labour market problems. After a period of relatively high unemployment a structural scarcity can be expected. Without drastic policy changes, the OECD workforce will shrink considerably. In Lisbon in 2000 the leaders of the European Union countries agreed upon an increase of the participation rate of older workers (between 55 and 64 years to rise to 50 per cent by 2010). In Figure 8.1 we show participation rates among OECD countries for older people (50–64 years).Secondly, the globalization process has accelerated in recent years.

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