DUBLIN, January 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Eurofound statement at the Opening Conference at the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations EYAA2012
The labour market shortfall caused by the decline in Europe's population and workforce will not be offset by increasing immigration levels nor by higher fertility and productivity rates, delegates will be told at the Opening Conference of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in Copenhagen on 18 January. The only way forward, according to Eurofound, the EU-agency charged with providing European social policymakers with comparative socio-economic research data and findings, is more active and inclusive employment policies - as well as a change to the general mind-set - to extend working life.
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Europeans are living longer than ever before, on average ten years more than in 1960. The increased life span is great news, particularly if accompanied by more years in good health. But it also poses many questions for individuals, their families and social security; How long do I need to work? Can I afford to retire? Does society recognise my contribution in providing care and volunteering?
If current levels of productivity and pensions are to be maintained, more people will have to work for longer. When workers grow older, the positive elements of work often retain their importance, but for many it becomes more difficult to do their jobs.
Research from Eurofound provides some good news: the proportion of workers in the EU27 who think they will be able to do their current job at the age of 60 has risen marginally from 57% in 2000 to 59% in 2010. Also, over the past five years, work beyond retirement has become more common in almost all Member States. Currently, around 10% of 65- 69-year-olds are employed in the EU27, compared to 8.7% five years ago.
The continual decline in physically demanding work, as well as improvement in health, will contribute to increasing employment rates for older workers in the future. There is no macro-level evidence that older workers sacrificing jobs would benefit the young. There are, however, a number of issues to overcome in relation to the retention and re-employment of older workers, among which updated skills inflexibility versus experience is one, and the short payback time for the human capital investment is another.
To tackle these challenges, European policymakers are increasingly recognising the role of older people in society, both as economic and social providers of resources and users of services. On 18 January 2012 in Copenhagen, at the launch event of the 2012 under the current Danish Presidency of the European Union, Eurofound will present its latest research which explores the impact of an ageing society and workforce.
During the course of 2012, Eurofound will bring you more data, research findings and policy-pointers on demographic change, older workers, working conditions, care responsibilities and youth employment, providing you with insights into developments at EU, national and company levels.
Eurofound's campaign website on all issues related to active ageing and solidarity between generations
Live feed and reporting from the Opening Conference of the 20112 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, which starts at 09:00 CET on Wednesday 18 January 2012
Notes to the editor
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) is a tripartite EU body that provides European social policymakers with comparative data, research and recommendations.
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SOURCE European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)