Active ageing and solidarity between generations - European Year 2012
2012 is the European year of active ageing and solidarity between generations. It offers us all a chance to reflect on how Europeans are living longer and staying healthier than ever before — and to realise the opportunities that represents. During the course of 2012 Eurofound will bring you more data, research findings and policy-pointers on active ageing, providing you with insights into developments at EU, national and company level.
10 December 2012 Closing conference of the European Year: From visions to actions
The Cyprus Presidency closing conference will celebrate the achievements and main highlights of the European Year, provide a forum for discussion on the ways to press ahead with the momentum gained to develop concrete actions, and enhance the commitment from key EU and national actors for political measures. Eurofound will contribute to the event with a presentation of its study on Sustainable work and the ageing workforce. Achieving work environments that make work sustainable over a lifetime is a key facet of the promotion of longer working lives. This study - based on the fifth European Working Conditions Survey - considers the dimensions of work that have proved essential to the understanding of work sustainability such as working conditions, physical and psychological health and the reconciliation of working and non-working time.
The proportion of people aged 65 and over will rise from 17% to 30% of the EU population by 2060, while at the same time the working age population will decline. The European Commission estimates that most of the increase in public spending in the EU over the next 50 years will be on pensions, long-term care and healthcare. Read the new Foundation Findings.
EU social and employment policies increasingly emphasise extending working life and increasing effective retirement age. Over the past few years, it has become more common for Europeans to work beyond the age at which they are entitled to a statutory or occupational pension. The employment rate among 65- to 69-year-olds increased from 8.8% in 2005 to 10.5% in 2011 – a remarkable development, especially in a time of economic crisis. Eurofound's new report Income from work after retirement will be presented by Director Juan Menéndez-Valdés at an event on 5 December.
László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, announced the winners of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations Awards at a ceremony which took place on 13 November 2012 in Brussels. High-level representatives of the European Institutions, EY2012 stakeholders, members from local, regional and national organisations, as well as academics and journalists attended the event held at the Charlemagne Building. The ceremony was moderated by Mary McCaughey, Head of Information and Communication at Eurofound.
One of the core initiatives aimed at combating high levels of unemployment proposed during this year’s presidential election campaign in France was the creation of a new kind of contract to help the country’s youngest and oldest employees. The goal is to combine job-creation for young people aged between 16 and 25 with a drive to keeper older workers aged 57 and over in active employment. Part of the initiative is a scheme to encourage older workers to help train young entrants to the labour market. Read the full article.
The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on 1 October. European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Làszló Andor is visiting Dublin to attend the Third Age conference. The Commissioner will also visit Eurofound where he will meet with Irish Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, and Irish social partners, as well as Eurofound's Director and staff.
Has your company improved the conditions for older workers? Has your municipality created better living environments for the ageing society? Are you a journalist and you have written an article about the EY2012 challenges and solutions? Do you want to share with the world an inspiring story about an active ager you know?
If so, the European Commission invites you to participate in the European Year 2012 Awards. Nominations may be submitted in the following categories: Workplaces for all ages, Towards age-friendly environments, Social entrepreneurs, Reporting on ageing and relations between generations and Life story challenge. Submissions will remain open until 16 September.
Eurofound research managers took part in discussions at the conference in Dublin Castle on 9–11 July. Sponsored by the European Commission and linked to the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, this event aimed to showcase a positive approach to ageing and its potential for society, presenting international scientific research on active ageing and identifying future research challenges.Eurofound contributed with a presentation by Robert Anderson [.pdf, 740kb].
On 11 June 2012, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission hosted the spring seminar of the Mutual Learning Programme, focusing on policies to extending working lives. Eurofound contributed with a presentation by Donald Storrie [.pdf, 800kb].
Eurofound held its 8th edition of the Foundation Seminar Series (FSS) last week in Rome. Working conditions of older workers; national, regional and sectoral initiatives for active ageing; and best practice in companies were on the agenda. Download the presentations.
Eurofound recently contributed to a special supplement in the Irish Times on Active Ageing – Living longer and better – as a way of sharing its new research findings and analysis on the issues relating to ageing and solidarity between generations. The widely publicised and highly discussed supplement includes a foreword by Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, and a series of articles which explores the changing face of growing old in Europe and in Ireland.
Most of the respondents to the ‘Trends’ survey carried out by the Centre of Empirical Studies (STEM) in April 2011 believed that some groups of people are discriminated against at work. Discrimination on the grounds of age was considered to be ‘very frequent’ by almost half of respondents. .
The active inclusion of vulnerable young people in the labour market is the focus of a Danish Presidency event. Best practice as well as the role of Member States, social partners, organisations, private actors and young people themselves will be discussed today. Download Eurofound contribution.
A report by the UK Department for Work and Pensions on the experience of 50+ jobseekers who had been offered support through Jobcentre Plus revealed strong demand for and a positive response to these specific measures but questioned their effectiveness. Read the article.
A new Eurobarometer survey examined active ageing in the EU, including attitudes to the workplace, career end and pensions. Barriers to older workers functioning in the labour market included a lack of training, a lack of flexibility to reduce working hours, and negative perceptions on the part of employers. The overall view was that the retirement age should be equal for men and women, but that individuals should be allowed to work beyond retirement age if they wished. Read this article by the European Working Conditions Observatory.
Increasing the participation of young people in the labour market has become an urgent policy goal and in recent times the focus has been directed at the ‘NEET’ group – young people ‘not in employment, education and training’.
- Young people and NEETs in Europe: First findings
Young people in Europe have been hit particularly hard by the recession. According to the latest Eurostat figures, in the first quarter of 2011 the youth employment rate in Europe dropped to 32.9%, the lowest value ever recorded in the history of the European Union.
- Recent policy developments related to those not in employment, education and training (NEETs)
Experts from the ‘European Restructuring Monitor’ (ERM) network looked at public and social partner based measures aimed at re-engaging young NEETs (aged 15–29 years) in 28 European countries. They found that, given the diversity of the NEET population, Member States have adopted policy measures addressing various NEET sub-groups in order to provide more tailored and personalised support.
At the launch of the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in Berlin today, Robert Anderson will provide participants with an overview of social support systems and retirement ages in EU Member States, company initiatives for people with care responsibilities of family members, and the role of social partners in providing a sustainable extension of the working life to tackle the demographic challenges facing Europe. His presentation – in German - is available.
Volunteering and care are issues that have not yet been covered in the discussions around the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing. On volunteering, Eurofound's research show that people with higher incomes register a higher participation in volunteering, as do those with higher levels of educational attainment and better health. There is no strong association with gender but men in the EU15 tend to report higher levels of participation than women. While age is not a major factor, it does appear – in terms of broad age groups – that people aged between 35 and 64 are more likely to volunteer than those who are younger or older.
To mark the start of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity of Generations, the Commission presented today a new Eurobarometer survey showing that 71% of Europeans are aware that Europe's population is getting older, but only 42% are concerned about this development. This is in stark contrast with the perceptions of policy makers, who regard demographic ageing as a major challenge. Most citizens (over 60%) believe that we should be allowed to continue working after retirement age and one third says that they would like to work longer themselves.
At the opening conference on 18 January 2012 in Copenhagen, under the Danish EU Presidency, Eurofound's Donald Storrie will speak on the topic of 'Senior citizens on the labour market - the need and potential of reforms'. By 2030, the old age dependency ratio will stand at over 30% in all Member States except Ireland. How should Europe handle the issues that raises?
In relative terms, the economic crisis that began in 2008 did not have a negative impact on the employment rate of older workers in the selection of states studied. In the majority of the 9 EU Member States covered in this study on age management policies, employment rates increased for older workers while they decreased for all other age groups.