By Nicholas Anderson, Editor in Chief
The previous article describes how older workers are suddenly an “Unemployed Statistic” or an “Inactive Statistic” – the above graph was prepared from data on Statistics Finland, the public statistics body.
The best explanations are that too many older people are taking early retirement, or being asked to leave companies with packages, or are being forced to leave.
Why are perfectly good people leaving the job market when we all know that this type of solution for the country and for most people is crazy, for want of a better word?
- We know that Finland like many other countries has an ageing population with a longer life expectancy. But we also know that 60 is the new 50 and that many people can easily work up until 75 years and more.
- We also know that pension fund systems are not keeping up with payments to pensioners and that pensions are being reduced. With fewer people working and with relatively more pensioners taking pensions only makes matters worse.
- We know that older people are great workers. They may be a little slower, but they are more experienced, loyalty is a common trait, they have a wider perspective, they know how to deal with organisations, and they are normally good dealing with clients who are getting older too!
- We also know that younger people have less experience in dealing with clients and with colleagues, they have to take off time to care for children and jump ship more often.
Taking the above into consideration, it would make sense for companies to keep older workers until the age of, say, 70 years. I am 72 this year and love working… but that is my personal solution.
It is not the government’s job to force people into working when they are old nor should the government force companies to keep on employing older folk. However, it is the government’s job to lower or remove barriers to holding on to older workers.
There must be plenty of smaller solution s that the government could employ – here are some suggestions:
- Companies could be offered big reductions in social costs of employment for pensioners. Why should an employer or pensioner be paying for pension savings if he or she is already receiving a pension? Unemployment insurance payments could also be scrapped…
- Companies could be offered a tax credit for employing pensioners for specific tasks that they are well suited to perform. This could be related to care-giving, gardening outside and in green houses, reading to young children, exercise for groups, household tasks for even older or infirm patients, etc. There are a huge number of tasks that pensioners could manage without disrupting markets but in fact creating new opportunities.
- Why not employ a GrandPa or Grandma to circulate within the company? Bob the Robot Oy has done this with great success.
- Older folk could be trained to perform board work in companies and act as paid advisors – who say that young people have a monopoly on business an innovation?
The above are just a few samples of what could be possible – there must be tens of thousands of eligible candidates…
What must be remembered is that working a full day or just a few hours can be an enormous health benefit for the brain and for the body….
… and that is of untold value for anybody and society at large.