Creating demand for extended working lives

In seeking to increase older employment rates, in recent years public policy has focused on tackling a key supply-side issue, that is, age discrimination. The battle may not yet be won but genuine progress seems to have been made. Attention has more recently turned to raising the state pension age, which will compel many individuals to work for longer by delaying access to their pension entitlements.

Of course, this change has as much to do with deficit reduction as it does with supporting older workers, and will not alone deliver an increase in effective retirement ages. Responding to an ageing society will require a far more radical approach, encompassing economic and cultural transformations as well as regulatory and fiscal change. The key task is creating meaningful demand to remain in work among older people – given the scale of ‘early’ retirement within the labour market, simply encouraging people to work up to state pension age would make a significant difference.

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Image: Oxyman