Workforce age trends and projections

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksChapterpeer-review


Aging is a phenomenon shared by many societies. However, it affects industrialized countries much more strongly than less-developed countries. On average, both the population and working population are living longer, which is good news per se. However, the process of aging raises numerous questions for economic systems. What does it mean for economic development or trends in labor productivity in the long term? How long can implicit knowledge be maintained and skill shortages be avoided? Are social security systems based on workers’ contributions sustainable? A key factor in this context is the employment-to-population rate for workers, particularly older workers, i.e., people aged 55 years and older. The longer older workers are employed, the more they contribute to economic activities, facilitate knowledge transfer, offer valuable skills, ease the burden on social security systems, and generate their own income.
Taking a comparative perspective, this chapter deals with driving forces of employment-to-population rates for older workers. In order to do so, it particularly focuses on comparing the process of aging in both the population and the workforce. The following section starts by adopting a global perspective and examining worldwide population developments. In the next step, it compares trends in ten industrial countries representing three continents, diverse cultural backgrounds, and notable differences in their economic and social development. The third section touches upon four brief cases in four different countries that seem to be particularly prototypical for different contexts. Given the high variance in cultures of work and welfare state systems in and around Europe, we have selected Germany, Israel, Italy, and Sweden. Each country stands for a specific configuration, for instance, because it may represent a trend reversal, a continuously outstanding performance, or lasting problems.Theconclusion summarizes the main findings and provides guidelines for further research in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAge and work : Advances in theory, methods, and practice
EditorsHannes Zacher, Cort W. Rudolph
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date17.01.2022
Article number2
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-54553-6, 978-0-367-54554-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-08967-4
Publication statusPublished - 17.01.2022