Are you “Age Ready”? Preparing for Ageism and the Workplace

14H07105_RF.jpgWe are living longer, eating healthier, exercising regularly and enjoying a more active lifestyle into our 80s and beyond.

What does this mean for our state-run pension systems? It certainly means that more money will be required to finance people’s retirement for more years than ever imagined.

What does this mean in terms of legislation? Retirement ages have been pushed back or abolished in many countries to keep people in the workforce longer. Creative legislation encourages employees to stay at work later in life.

What does this mean for ageing workers? It certainly means that more people may choose to work later in life and that elder workers will be searching meaningful, and perhaps reduced, work until they exit the workforce. Indeed, increased longevity creates the need for more money throughout one’s life and also the desire to stay active later in life.

What does this mean for employers? These are important issues for employers as they will need to manage older workers and the end of careers more carefully. Understanding the desires of the ageing workforce and the needs of the business will be key in devising an end-of-career strategy for each employee.

Countries have different rules with respect to forced retirement, phased retirement and age discrimination. Some countries allow employers to force persons into retirement at a certain age; others do not. Some countries have very protective laws with respect to age discrimination; others do not.

It is therefore of significance to an employer to be attentive to the end of the employment relationship of elder workers.

Based on the foregoing, companies need to devise strategies to manage the ageing workforce. Some of the key challenges are:

  • How do we create a workplace which both attracts and allows the ageing workforce to be productive?
  • How do we retain older workers while ensuring that younger talent can be promoted and given increased responsibilities?
  • How do we make sure every generation in the workplace contributes in the best way possible for the best performance of the company?
  • How to be “age-blind” – a true meritocracy regarding employees on a performance based system regardless of a person’s age?
  • How do we ensure a “soft landing” for elder workers?

These are many of the key challenges related to the aging workforce that employers are facing today.

Read the full feature here.

EY Law contacts:

ey-roselyn Roselyn Sands, EY Global Labor & Employment Law Markets Leader

Paula Hogéus_1 Paula Hogéus, EY Global Labor & Employment Law Leader