CASE Policy Briefs, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, Europe, Labor market, social policy and social services, labour market, labour market policy, population aging

Future scenarios for the development of the European labour force

The future size and quality of the European labour force are important production factors for future economic growth in the region. The performance of many systems such as social security and health depends on the population of future potential tax payers.

Older workers are an important and increasing share of the employment in Europe. Due to lower fertility and longer life expectancy, today, a larger than ever share of the population is over 50. Eurostat projections show that the share of people between the ages of 50 and 74 in the population aged 20-74 will increase in the EU27 countries from the current 40 per cent to 47 per cent in 2050. However, countries differ in terms of elderly activity. Existing studies show that this is related to various factors, including labour market institutions. As demographic ageing is expected to continue in the future, it is important to know more about these factors in order to recommend policies that could be efficient for the development of future labour markets and the economy as a whole.

The aim of the described part of the project was to assess the impact of ageing on the labour market, especially on the structure of the labour force and labour productivity. We looked at this from various angles. First, we examined it via the determinants of the transition from work to retirement (see: Riedel and Hofer, 2013) with a broader analysis of non-labour market activities at older ages (Styczyńska et al., 2013). Then, we tried to answer the question about how individual productivity changes with age in different countries and if lifelong learning can contribute to higher labour productivity in the future (Ruzik-Sierdzińska et al., 2013). Finally, we looked at the demand for labour in the perspective of ageing societies, i.e. at employers' policies, attitudes and behaviours towards older workers and retirement (van Dalen et al., 2013).