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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.

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

The social contract is changing from lifelong employment to lifelong employability. To keep ageing workers productive and, hence, attractive for firms to hire or retain, it is necessary to develop a corporate culture that promotes and protects the productivity of the senior worker. Such a culture should have several dimensions, including supporting workers' health, keeping human capital up to date and maintaining workers' motivation.

Increasing the skills of older workers calls for lifelong learning, including learning towards the end of people’s careers to enable greater job mobility at that time. To remain productive and competitive in today’s labor markets, workers need to enhance and broaden their skills continuously. Firms should be aware of the prospect of tightening labor markets in an environment of ageing populations and prepare their workforce to be productive for longer.

Training may offer the possibility for older workers to shift across occupations within a firm. Workers' incentives to enhance their skills and invest in their employability, possibly in a new occupation and a new firm, should be strengthened. There may also be a role for governments to provide training programs for older workers, especially if structural adjustment leads to large-scale redundancies.

Higher investment in human capital throughout people’s careers will facilitate and motivate workers to work longer. Entrenched expectations of early retirement can also be thwarted by providing older employees with new perspectives, such as age-appropriate career management geared to each phase of working life and providing flexible routes into final retirement.

Expectations of staying longer at work will encourage workers to invest in their skills, which will enhance the profitability of firms' investments in training. Nevertheless, to some extent, the shorter payback period of training investments for older workers will remain an obstacle for higher take-up of continued training, which may provide a rationale for corporate training deductions, at least for certain groups of older workers. This would be mitigated if workers had credible expectations that careers would be extended (for example, from an effective retirement age of 55 to 60) or that moving up the ladder will be possible for longer.

    Related Solutions

    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
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society