Ageing, the Demographic Dividend and Work: Older & Bolder

  • Republic of Ireland

14th May 2010, Older & Bolder

Professor Des O'Neill

A new paper released recently by Older and Bolder outlines the barriers to employment that older people face in Ireland.  The report Ageing, the Demographic Dividend and Work which was commissioned by Older & Bolder and written by Professor Desmond O’Neill discusses late life creativity and highlights the potential benefits to the Irish economy of developing a successful life-span strategy for work. 

However, the paper also highlights the dangers of a policy of extending the retirement age, without an accompanying and proactive commitment by Government to policies incorporating life-long training, age-friendly HR practices and work places and concerted action to eliminate ageism and prejudice against older workers.

Director of the Older & Bolder alliance, Patricia Conboy, explained that Ageing, the Demographic Dividend and Work was commissioned by the alliance as part of their work on the National Pensions Framework (NPF). The NPF plans incremental increases in the qualifying age for the State Pension, commencing in 2014.  Ms. Conboy says that Older & Bolder favours the principle of choice for workers.  “We agree that people who wish to work longer, or who wish to work longer but flexibly, should be facilitated to do this. However the NPF does not address the workplace changes that are needed to accommodate late working and flexible working and this concerns us.”

The paper written by Professor O’Neill of Aois agus Eolas, The Centre of Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities at Tallaght Hospital Dublin, notes the low profile of ageing policy in Ireland and the fact that Ireland remains one of the very few countries in Europe who have not responded to the UN Madrid Action Plan on Ageing. 

Explaining that  Ageing, the Demographic Dividend and Work discusses the barriers to full inclusion of older people in the workforce, Professor O’Neill describes key ‘Pull Factors’ and ‘Push Factors’.  ‘Pull Factors’ include financial incentives to retire whereas ‘Push Factors’ represent failure of workplaces to engage with ageing - through ageist recruitment policies and negative perceptions of older workers and inflexible working practices.

To read the full report please click here