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Older workers - Working Forever? CEET National Conference October 2005 Fran Ferrier CEET.

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Presentation on theme: "Older workers - Working Forever? CEET National Conference October 2005 Fran Ferrier CEET."— Presentation transcript:

1 Older workers - Working Forever? CEET National Conference October 2005 Fran Ferrier CEET

2 Context: Demographic change –Crisis or challenge? –New focus on older workers Older workers – workforce participation Older workers - education and training –Education and labour force participation –Barriers to education and training

3 Changes in the age structure of the population From pyramid to coffin

4 Crisis or challenge? Growth in cost of health and pensions Shrinking tax base ‘voodoo demographics’ Emerging consensus – the need for policy responses

5 Focus on older workers Concern about labour supply as more workers reach retirement age Policy developments to encourage work for longer: –Age discrimination reduced –Increase in age for access to pensions, superannuation –Financial Incentives (eg pension/taxation measures) More action needed: OECD

6 Percentage of the population aged 25-49 or 50-64 who are employed, 2004 On average in OECD countries, less than 60% of 50 - 64 year olds are in paid employment, compared with 75% of those aged 25-49.

7 Labour force participation by single year of age in Australia 2003 (%)

8 Projections of the Australian labour force

9 Changes in labour force participation 1983/4 – 2003/4 Participation by older workers has increased, particularly among women Females Males

10 Education and Training Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with greater labour force engagement Educational attainment growing in population ‘Flow through’ as currently highly educated cohorts age May be possible to slow the decline in the growth of labour supply by increasing opportunities

11 qualifications acquired later in life have as good, and in some cases, better, pay-off in employment for older age groups as qualifications obtained at a young age older people who have undertaken training are more likely to retain their employment status, relative to their employed peers not receiving training. –Karmel and Woods 2004 Education and Training for older people…

12 Proportion of those in full- time work by age and qualification Australia 2004 males females

13 Change in highest educational qualification shares, for older age groups 1993-2003

14 Barriers to education and training (NILS study 2001) –The absence of paid work –A decline with age in the capacity to learn –Particular educational and occupational characteristics of the current older age cohort (e.g. low level of educational attainment and concentration in low skilled jobs) –The public policy environment that has encouraged early retirement –Discrimination by employers based on assumptions –Older persons’ self-perceptions about value of further training. Myths about older workers, eg –that productivity declines with age. –that older workers lack the drive of younger colleagues. –that older workers are just waiting for the clock to tick over. –that training older workers is a waste of time, because they will retire soon anyway. –that older workers frequently miss work for health reasons.

15 Males Females Participation in education and training by age, persons who were wage and salary earners in the last 12 months, 2001

16 Attention needed to diversity in older workers group for effective policy making Early retirement is a common goal - need for appropriate incentives to keep working Work/leisure balance – need for flexible work options WORK FOR LONGER – NOT FOREVER! Policy Responses:

17 ‘Grey power’ 35 40 45 50 55 1978/791998/992018/192038/392058/59 35 40 45 50 55 Age The predicted rise in the median age of Australian voters

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