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Recruiting Older Employees

March 26 2010 - A study by Allianz shows that in 2010 people between 60 and 65 will outnumber those between 15 and 20 in the European Union. 28.8 million EU residents are aged 60-65 compared with 28.6 million between the ages of 15 and 20.

This year, for the first time ever, the ongoing demographic change will affect the job market as there will be 200,000 more people approaching or entering retirement than the number of school-leavers.

Professor Michael Heise, chief economist and head of corporate development at Allianz said:

"As the baby boomer generation moves into retirement, this gap is set to widen over the next few years, rising to 8.3 million by 2030."

The Allianz study predicts similar trends in other G-20 states such as Russia, Canada, South Korea and China. In Japan the situation is even more dramatic than in the EU, with only 6 million school-leavers compared to 10 million between the ages of 60 and 65. However, the US is still experiencing growth in the number of people of working age because of its attractiveness as an immigration destination, and a rise in the birth rate.

Heise says that the EU's unemployment problems will not be solved as a result of the shrinking working population, adding that "Even today unemployment is largely a structural issue, i.e. the educational and training background of many job-seekers is irreconcilable with the requirements of the labor market." But, he argues, the demographic trend will not necessarily lead to a decline in economic dynamics and the further marginalization of Europe vis à vis "Chinamerica." Nevertheless, he contends, it is essential to adopt working conditions to the needs of an aging workforce.

Only a third or so of all people between 60 and 64 are still working in the EU but there are considerable differences between the individual member states. While Hungary has the lowest employment rate of just 13.3% for this age group, 63% are still working in Sweden. An additional 8 million workers would be available by 2030 if the rest of Europe could catch up with Sweden.

Heise concludes that increasing the proportion of older people working is a major challenge:

"The key milestones have already been achieved in pursuit of this objective in recent years, with moves to reduce the number of early retirement incentives being introduced as part of pension system reforms in many EU countries. The task now is to create the right environment on the labor market. If the European Union succeeds in this endeavor, it could serve as a role model in the face of an aging population worldwide."



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