Ageing workforce – less output?

In the context of its research programme on Ageing Societies, CEPS organised a half day workshop on the topic of Ageing and Productivity (slides here) with participation of the Commission, academics, international organisations and other stakeholders. Not only are European populations ageing, but the average age of the workforce is ageing even faster due to a continued extension of working lives. Christian Ebeke, a senior economist at the IMF, presented research on the relationship between an ageing labour force and labour productivity. His conclusions were pessimistic on this relationship as he showed that countries already under strain in southern Europe are projected to experience the largest decline in relative productivity. Lucy Stokes from NIESR presented a somewhat more positive view based on a company survey of managers’ assessments of the performance of older staff members. On the positive side, Mikkel Barslund from CEPS showed that Japan – by and large 20 years ahead of Germany in the process of societal ageing – has had average labour productivity in the past 20 years. Among the questions discussed, the issue of technology in enhancing labour productivity attracted special attention; as well as ways to ensure productivity growth in the public sector.

For CEPS latest research on ageing and demographics, see “Demographics and Brexit: A deeper problem for the EU?”,Measuring ageing and the need for longer working lives in the EU” and “Measuring Dependency Ratios using National Transfer Accounts”.