Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 3 2002, page 25-42.
English resume

Ageing and employment in the european union.

Alan Walker

Policy makers in the European Union (EU) have begun to emphasise the importance of employment in later life and the concept of active ageing is beginning to take shape and to be regarded as a political priority. The main purpose of the article is to explain why this emphasis on later working life is emerging and why it is important. First of all it outlines the five main reasons why policy makers are focussing on the employment of older workers. Then it is argued that age discrimination represents a barrier to employment in later life. Finally the article describes some examples from the measures taken so far by EU governments to address the question of gradual retirement and related active ageing policies.

The current search for a new approach to employment in later life in Europe stems from the juxtaposition of changes in employment (in particular the decline of the standard male industrial worker on which most public pension systems were based) and the ageing of the workforce, in a context of budgetary pressure created by a range of factors including economic and monetary union, unemployment and population ageing. The idea of retirement as a distinct phase devoted to leisure at the end of the working life is being undermined by changes in employment, while the culture of early exit is challenged by workforce ageing and the pressures on social protection systems. This has revived interest in the fourth pillar of retirement income ? employment ? after an extended period in which the early exit of older workers was seen as one of the goals of employment policy.

Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)




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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt