Staying in Business: Is Your Business Age-Friendly?
By Stefan Crets, Executive Director, CSR Europe for CSRwire
While the European population is increasing – from 495.4 million in 2008 to 520.7 million in 2035 – Europe is finding itself confronted with a new challenge: a rapidly changing population structure resulting from decreasing fertility rate and increasing life expectancy. The number of people aged 65+ years will almost double between 2010 (87.5 million) and 2060 (152.6 million).
This demographic shift will have a significant impact on the way business today is carried out – not only will companies have an increasingly older workforce, but they will also have to think about how they can provide products and services to an increasingly aging society. This is an unchartered territory for many businesses, and begs the question: How do we turn active aging from a risk to an opportunity?
Business’ Contribution to Active Aging
It is against this background that CSR Europe held a workshop in London on Active aging earlier this month. The workshop, set within the framework of the Enterprise 2020 collaborative project ‘The business contribution to active ageing’, gave participants an opportunity to review various age management strategies in the workplace, as well as approaches to develop inclusive products and services targeted to the 60+ market segments.
On the employability side, two major challenges were identified:
- Maintaining high productivity, and
- Ensuring sufficient labor availability.
Participants’ reflections highlighted that while employers cannot fight the demographic challenge, they CAN do more to manage demographic risks: (a) capacity risks incurred primarily by employee retirement, and (b) performance risk resulting from change in performance as employee age. Many people would like to stay active in the workplace, but few are willing to deal with the stress or physical demand of their job when they are 60 years old.
So how can business create flexible options that allow people to decelerate toward the end of their career path? Find out on CSRwire Talkback.