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Symposium 2012

Solution for Expanding Job Opportunities for Senior Citizens

The Challenge

Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) Session The key socioeconomic trend in many parts of the world—including China, Europe and the United States—is an ageing society. This trend is driven i ...

Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) Session

The key socioeconomic trend in many parts of the world—including China, Europe and the United States—is an ageing society. This trend is driven in part by lower fertility but mainly by higher longevity. This means that growing old age dependency—the ratio of older retired people to younger working people—will not disappear with the passing of the baby boom generation: indeed, it will keep increasing.

Fight stigma and discrimination and correct popular misconceptions about the impact of age on employability and the impact of working longer on the labor market.

Impediments to the employment of older workers are partly rooted in prejudices about the impact of age on employability and the impact of working longer on the labor market. Another factor is that society conceives retirement as a time of rest after a long working life. Informed discussions may help to combat widely held misconceptions about ageing.

Researchers have an important role to play in translating results and giving policy advice to the public as well as to politicians. Public agencies and employers associations as well as labor unions should engage in educating their clients/interlocutors to correct flawed views.

A notorious fallacy is that keeping older workers for longer denies jobs to younger workers. In fact, empirical evidence suggests that keeping older workers encourages the creation of more jobs for younger workers. There are also concerns among employers that older workers are less suitable for training and resistant to change, which may lead them to view investment in training older workers as unprofitable. But if workers undergo continued training throughout their working lives, declines in their trainability in old age will be limited.

Research shows that people can still learn up to a rather old age. But interindividual differences become larger. In addition, because retention rates of older workers are high, training older workers may be as profitable as training younger ones, especially if it increases the probability of employees working longer. While there is evidence of some decline in the productivity of older workers relative to that of younger ones, employers can benefit from characteristics typical of more advanced years (such as experience, "wisdom" and reliability) when recruiting older workers.

Research also finds that contrary to what is conventionally assumed, seniors are not more risk-averse. Moreover, older workers are typically found to be more cooperative than juniors in a team-production game. Indeed, cooperation is highest in groups consisting of a mix of juniors and seniors, suggesting that there are considerable benefits in maintaining a work force with diversity in age. Promoting the benefits of an agebalanced workforce could be a focal point in information campaigns.

    Related Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Promote lifelong learning and age-appropriate career management as part of firms' corporate culture to improve the employability of older workers.

    Promote lifelong learning and age-appropriate career management as part of firms' corporate culture to improve the employability of older workers.

    Promote lifelong learning and age-appropriate career management as part of firms' corporate culture to improve the employability of older workers.

    Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Governments and business should promote the redesign workplaces and work schedules individually to fit senior workers' skills and abilities.

    Governments and business should promote the redesign workplaces and work schedules individually to fit senior workers' skills and abilities.

    Governments and business should promote the redesign workplaces and work schedules individually to fit senior workers' skills and abilities.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Allow wages to adjust to lifecycle productivity and refrain from restrictive employment protection legislation that prevents such adjustment.

    Allow wages to adjust to lifecycle productivity and refrain from restrictive employment protection legislation that prevents such adjustment.

    Allow wages to adjust to lifecycle productivity and refrain from restrictive employment protection legislation that prevents such adjustment.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    To facilitate partial retirement and downshifting, introduce more flexible working conditions, such as flexible rostering patterns, work schedules and part-time work, as well as flexible retirement schemes, including pensions based ...

    To facilitate partial retirement and downshifting, introduce more flexible working conditions, such as flexible rostering patterns, work schedules and part-time work, as well as flexible retirement sc ...

    To facilitate partial retirement and downshifting, introduce more flexible working conditions, such as flexible rostering patterns, work schedules and part-time work, as well as flexible retirement schemes, including pensions based on lifetime income or contributions and flexible drawing-down of entitlements.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Establish a national or international clearinghouse for best practices in retaining older workers.

    Establish a national or international clearinghouse for best practices in retaining older workers.

    Establish a national or international clearinghouse for best practices in retaining older workers.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society