EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Employment initiatives for an ageing workforce

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Policy attention and reference to ageing of the workforce has increased markedly in the last decade. At EU level concerns about the sustainability of pensions, economic growth and the future labour supply have stimulated a range of policy processes and recommendations to support the goals of longer working lives and later retirement.

Over the next 20 years the age structure of the working population will change and the general population of working age will decline. There are many challenges:

  • to maintain and promote the health and working capacity of workers as they age;
  • to develop the skills and employability of older workers;
  • to provide suitable working conditions as well as employment opportunities for an ageing workforce.

This agenda for action to improve employment of older workers involves government policies at different levels, the social partners and social dialogue, and of course companies as well as older workers themselves. In the EU 15 policies and practices (particularly in companies) to improve opportunities for older workers and to extend working life have developed significantly over the last decade. The Foundation has published a database of good practice examples which may prove useful at the workplace level.

Country reports: The following overview country reports look at the evolution of initiatives related to older employees undertaken by selected organisations over the last decade: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK.

The data collection has been extended to include cases from the new Member States: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.

A set of guidelines for good practice in age management has been published together with analytical reports on developments in employment initiatives for an ageing workforce in the EU15 and age and employment in the new Member States.