Saturday, February 11, 2012

Northern Europe: Forum Addresses Encouraging Older Workers To Stay in Workforce

At the Northern Europe Forum, on 8-9 February 2012, the leaders of the Nordic and Baltic countries and the United Kingdom met to discuss common social challenges, focusing on two important issues that are vital to achieving long-term sustainable growth: (1) How do we get more women into top positions and more women entrepreneurs? and (2) How do we get senior citizens to stay longer in the labour force? In addition, a conference on "Beyond 65: new life chances in the labour market" was organized by the Government Commission on the Future of Sweden to run alongside the Northern Future Forum.

On the latter issue, "[f]lexibility, a voluntary basis and respect for the skills and experience of senior people were among the most frequent words heard in the discussion on how the nine prime ministers could increase the proportion of senior people in the workforce. The delegates at the Northern Future Forum seemed to agree that the issue is complex and requires a change of attitude across the whole of society." A summary of the day's discussions as well as a webcast on the topic are available.

In preparation for the forum a paper--"Nine countries’ perspectives on women entrepreneurs and leaders and senior citizens in the labour force"--was published with a country-by-country description of the initiatives that have been taken to get older persons to stay in the work force. In addition, documents were prepared of statistics of the number of seniors in the workforce.

At the Commission on the Future session, the message from Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was that more people must be encouraged to work into older age and they must be prepared to retrain or change professions or careers during our working lives.

Sources: Nordic Labour Journal "Older people to be encouraged to work for longer" (February 9, 2012); Government of Sweden Northern Future Forum

No comments: