Challenges of an Ageing Society
Population ageing is one of the most important challenges facing many countries. By 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years or over is projected to reach 2 billion (22% of world population), up from 900 million in 2015. In an era of rapid population ageing, policy and workplace reforms are indispensable to mitigating negative social and economic consequences such as a significant rise in public health expenditures, a high old-age dependency ratio, and decline in labor-force growth. A concerted effort by individuals, firms, and governments is needed to break traditional stereotypes about ageing and promote longer working lives in order to turn the challenges of an ageing society into opportunities.
In December 2015, the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Ageing and Employment Policies was adopted to provide policy guidelines for governments to encourage and support employment in old age. The recommendation is built upon earlier work of the OECD on Ageing and Employment Policies, summarized in Live Longer, Work Longer (2006). The publication draws out the main lessons from the thematic review of 21 countries’ employment policies, labor-market trends, and major barriers to employment for older workers. Based on the findings of the review, the OECD recently released a new series of policy reviews on Working Better with Age to highlight key issues and policy recommendations to improve labor-market prospects for older workers. Korea participated in an earlier country review, and the recent report on Working Better with Age: Korea was published in 2018.
In the wake of widening inequality, the OECD Action Plan on Preventing Ageing Unequally was endorsed by the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in June 2017. The OECD analysis emphasizes that education, health, and employment experiences interact with and compound inequality, which start building up from early ages. Given the need to take a holistic policy approach to promote equal ageing, the Action Plan identifies three sets of policy packages to prevent, mitigate, and cope with inequalities that persist in old age. The OECD has been working with countries to implement the Action Plan at the national level, and a progress report on their implementation will be presented to the 2022 MCM.