Should Paid Workforce Participation By Older People Be Encouraged? Evaluating The Pros And Cons


  • Judith A. Davey Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington



Paid Workforce Participation, older people, ageing population


The policies of many developed countries now aim to encourage older people to remain longer in the paid workforce. What are the pros and cons of this position? Longer lives and better health in later life provide opportunities for prolonging workforce participation. There is considerable evidence that having meaningful and appropriate work is beneficial to the physical, psychological and financial wellbeing of older people. Demographic trends suggest that labour and skills shortages will become more pressing in the future as younger people entering the workforce do not balance the numbers retiring. Firms which understand the implications of ageing will be better placed to address its challenges. Older workers represent a valuable and often untapped source of increased productivity. But how can we ensure that their working conditions are appropriate rather than precarious? There are social and economic benefits from having an economically active older population. It will contribute to economic growth and the maintenance of living standards and also, through taxation, help to meet the costs of an ageing population. But what about the impact on the employment prospects of young workers and on voluntary work?


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