Golden Age index: How well are the OECD economies harnessing the power of an older workforce?
PwC Golden Age Index is a weighted average of seven indicators which reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in OECD countries, including employment, earnings and training. The key findings from our 2018 report are as follows:
- Iceland, New Zealand, Israel, Estonia and Sweden take the top five spots, with many of the Nordic countries also performing well on the index.
- Germany, Israel and New Zealand have achieved the most significant improvements in the rankings from 2003.
- The UK maintains a middling position on the index, falling one place to 21st position this year, although the UK's absolute performance has continued to improve
- There is a large regional disparity in the employment rates of older workers across the UK, ranging from around 63% in Northern Ireland to almost 75% in the South East.
- The OECD could achieve a $3.5 trillion boost to GDP in the long-term if countries raised their employment rates of those aged over 55 to match New Zealand levels. For the UK, the potential gain could be around £182 billion.
- Key drivers of employment of older workers are public pension policies, life expectancy and caring responsibilities. Successful policy measures include increasing retirement age, supporting flexible working, improving the flexibility of pensions and further training and support for older workers to become 'digital adopters'.
- Automation poses both potential opportunities and challenges for older workers. AI technology can boost economic growth, generate more labour demand and support longer working lives (e.g. through use of digital platforms that allow older workers to market their skills more widely). But it could also require some older workers to retrain for new careers later in life, as well as to acquire additional digital skills in current careers.
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