Friday, July 08, 2011

Europe: Aging Population Requires Making Full Use of Available Employment Potential

Speaking at an informal meeting of the ministers for labor and social affairs, Leila Kurki, president of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship of the European Economic and Social Committee, said that "future pension funding needs will not be determined by the demographic ratio (ratio of older people to people of working age)" but that "the decisive factor is rather trends in the economic dependency ratio, or in the ratio of people receiving benefits to people in employment.” Thus, governments should focus on effectively increasing labor market participation rate of people of working age rather than focusing on making changes to pension systems, tightening pension conditions, weakening pension rights or raising the statutory retirement age.
“Jobs must be designed so that people are able to work at least up to the statutory retirement age.” Kurki pointed out that this would entail radical changes in working life.

Work and management would have to be organised in a way that accommodated ageing at every stage of a person’s career. Working conditions and the working environment must be adapted to suit workers of different ages. Discrimination and negative value judgments against older workers must be combated.

Updating of professional skills and preventive healthcare were of key importance.
Source: European Economic and Social Committee Press Release (July 7, 2011)

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