Last month also I participated in a workshop that took place In PracodawcyPR, Employers of Poland, Warsaw. They are the oldest, the largest and the most representative organisation of employers in Poland. They have accompanied Polish political and economic transformation from the very beginning, since 1989, by representing interests of entrepreneurs of all sectors and businesses. The Confederation forms an association of entrepreneurs of over 7 500 companies. They employ about 4 million employees; it is the greatest number of all organisations which associate Polish employers. They are a partner of social dialogue, a participant of Trilateral Commission for Social and Economic Affairs and a co-originator of independent dialogue. I pointed out that It is a well-known fact that the European workforce is getting older. Perhaps less well-known is that attitudes towards ageing are changing for the better.Instead of being seen as a demographic time bomb with very negative consequences, Europe’s ageing workforce is increasingly talked about as ‘the silver economy’ that may energise development and bring new opportunities for economic growth. My question was: Is Europe prepared for the challenges it brings? I do not think so. By 2060 there will be only two people of working age (15-64 years) in the European Union for every person aged over 65 years. This compares to a ratio of four to one today. The labour market is already feeling the effects of an ageing population. We must tackle this Challenge. The Employers recognise the problem of ageing, but indications confirm that they are not yet prepared for these changes. How can employers be aware of that?
Many baby boomers born in the 1950s and 1960’s will retire in the next decade or two. These workers will have to be replaced largely by people already in the workforce. Changing age-structures in enterprises are a major challenge. Participation in lifelong learning by older workers has been consistently below European targets.
That is said, What to do about an ageing workforce? I strongly agree that successful active ageing policies involve more than raising the pension age and restricting early retirement. Helping ageing workers to keeptheirskills up-to-date and preventing skills obsolescence is essential to preserving their work ability.