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Rethinking the Role of Older Workers: Promoting Older Worker Employment in Europe and Japan

Older worker employment and retirement trends in the European Union (EU) and Japan as well as the United States are examined in this Issue Brief by Sara E. Rix of the AARP Public Policy Institute. The brief presents responses by the EU and Japan to the aging of their populations and the soaring costs of pensions, with an analysis of their goals and initiatives to foster older worker employment.

In Japan, worklife extension is encouraged by raising the pensionable age and providing subsidies for employers to hire and retain older workers.

In Europe, efforts to prolong working life include

  • removing incentives to retire early
  • reforming pension policies to reward later retirement
  • providing more flexible work and retirement options
  • banning age discrimination
  • educating employers about potential labor shortages

The EU has set ambitious older worker employment goals for its member countries and has put pressure on these countries to reach the established targets. Older workers in the United States, in contrast, have not been the focus of this kind of sustained high-level attention, and there are no official goals or objectives regarding their employment or retirement age. (32 pages)

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