Population ageing, coupled with economic uncertainty and a shifting workforce structure, has directed the attention of public and organizational policy makers toward the potential contribution of older workers and skilled migrants in meeting labor supply shortages in ageing populations. This chapter presents labor supply and demand scenarios for 10 OECD countries and examines trends in the labor force participation of older workers against the backdrop of changes to the nature of work in an era of globalization, casualization, and, increasingly, automation. Brief analysis of each country’s situation and policy responses indicates that China, Japan, and Korea stand out as being at particular risk of being unable to maintain growth without undertaking drastic action, although their areas of focus need to differ. A limitation of the study is that GDP projections used in labor demand analysis were based on historical rates and represented past potential and a long-run average of historic economic output. Future research might also undertake comparative analysis of case studies addressing different potential solutions to workforce ageing. A key implication of the study is that there is a need to take a blended approach to public policy regarding older workers in a changing labor market. Where migration has historically been a source of labor supplementation, this may become a less viable avenue over the near future. Future shortfalls in labor imply that economies will increasingly need to diversify their sources of workers in order to maintain economic growth. For public policy makers the challenge will be to overcome public antipathy to migration and longer working lives.
The chapter draws on data analysis carried out by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) with funding from National Seniors Australia.
Earl, C., Taylor, P., Roberts, C., Huynh, P. and Davis, S. (2017), "The Workforce Demographic Shift and the Changing Nature of Work: Implications for Policy, Productivity, and Participation ", Age Diversity in the Workplace (Advanced Series in Management, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1877-636120170000017002
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