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7 September 2018

EU: Golden Age Index recommends raising employment rates for those aged 55+

Consultancy PwC has published data that OECD countries could experience a huge and long-run increase in GDP by increasing older worker employment rates. However, some of the measures prescribed are contentious. Redesigning jobs to meet physical needs will be welcomed more than an increase of the retirement age, which PwC suggests.

PwC has quantified in its Golden Age index how far different economies are harnessing the power of their older workers. The Golden Age index report is a weighted average of seven indicators affecting the labour market of workers aged over 55 in OECD countries. The index captures a broad range of indicators relating to the participation of older people in employment and training. Two EU-countries (Estonia and Sweden) figure in the top five of the index that is led by Iceland. According to the authors, other countries could achieve large potential economic gains if employment rates for those over 55s could be raised to those of the top performers.

The authors identify three key drivers of the employment of older workers: pension policies; life expectancy; and caring responsibilities. Reforms in top-performing countries have included: an increase in the retirement age; support for flexible working; an improvement of the flexibility of pensions; and further training and support for older workers to become ‘digital adopters’ as successful measures of top performers. The also report says that a flexible market that encourages and supports older workers is a key feature. It notes that, for instance, Germany has been doing much better since recent reforms are targeting older workers with measures such as redesigning jobs to meet physical needs.

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