The changing world of work and the longevity/ageing population - The preconditions for ageing workers to stay active in the new world of work (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Finnish Presidency)

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stanovisko EHSV: The changing world of work and the longevity/ageing population - The preconditions for ageing workers to stay active in the new world of work (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Finnish Presidency)

In this opinion, the EESC notes that the measures taken by the EU Member States to address the challenge of an ageing workforce remain isolated and their impact has not been gauged. Therefore, the EESC highlights the need for comprehensive strategies, to deal with the demographic and employment challenges in a holistically manner.

The Committee also issues concrete recommendations to encourage longer active working lives:

  • Strengthen social dialogue and the involvement of all stakeholders in developing integrated strategies and national policies for active ageing;
  • Develop employment and skills through lifelong learning;
  • Promote dynamic careers and dynamic work;
  • Stimulate senior entrepreneurship;
  • Fight all types of discrimination, particularly age and gender discrimination;
  • Implement knowledge transfer/sharing initiatives;
  • Implement flexible work arrangements and better working conditions;
  • Promote solidarity between generations and change attitudes towards ageing.

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Key points

The EESC welcomes the Finnish Presidency's focus on the economy of the well-being of people, including the elderly, and believes that this is a positive step towards achieving a better balance between demographic trends, the labour market and society.

  • Member States have acknowledged the issue of the ageing population and have taken certain measures in recent years, but these measures appear to be isolated and their impact has not been gauged. Furthermore, the impact of technological advances and the changing nature of work bring increased complexity to the issue.
  • The social partners, in cooperation with governments, are key to facilitating the implementation of measures at different levels. Civil society and the European social partners should play an important role in encouraging longer active working lives.
  • Policy action and funding at EU level could help overcome these barriers, but will need to take account of country differences in terms of demography, the economy, employment and working conditions. Member States should make use of European funds to finance measures, while the responsibility for supporting longer working lives should be shared between governments, businesses and individuals.
  • Comprehensive strategies focused on developing national policies for active ageing are required because the demographic and employment challenges can only be tackled holistically. The specific recommendations proposed for tackling the challenges of active ageing are as follows:
  • strengthen social dialogue and the involvement of all stakeholders in developing integrated strategies and national policies for active ageing;
  • develop employment and skills through lifelong learning;
  • promote dynamic careers and dynamic work;
  • stimulate senior entrepreneurship;
  • fight all types of discrimination, particularly age and gender discrimination;
  • implement knowledge transfer/sharing initiatives;
  • implement flexible work arrangements and better working conditions;
  • promote solidarity between generations and change attitudes towards ageing.

All measures should be constantly monitored and the impact on older workers' participation in the labour market should be properly evaluated. Having a clear picture of the impact of such measures would further encourage Member States to disseminate and share best practices on active ageing.