A new international report launched this week ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bankers’ meeting by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK), the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, unveils the significant, and growing, economic impact of older workers across the G20:
- Nearly 1 in 3 workers across the G20 is already aged 50 and over – this could rise to 40% of the workforce by 2035.
- In 2014, workers aged 50 and older generated every third dollar earned across the G20. By 2035 this cohort is projected to generate nearly 40% of all earnings.
- If the G20 countries studied enabled older people to work at the same rates seen in Iceland, they could see a GDP gain of USD3.7 trillion – averaging 7% of GDP.
The report argues that leveraging the economic contributions of older people will be instrumental in the global post-pandemic recovery, and that addressing health barriers to work for older people can unlock a significant “longevity dividend”.
ILC-UK analysis finds higher rates of employment among older people in countries that spend more on health as a proportion of GDP. Across countries, a 1 percentage point increase in health spending is associated with a 3 pp increase in the employment rate for people aged 55 to 64. The report argues that countries also need to address other known barriers to work for older people, such as non-inclusive workplaces, in order to maximise the potential longevity dividend.
To maximise the economic contributions of older people in the post-pandemic recovery and beyond, ILC-UK is calling on G20 Governments to deliver an Ageing Society New Deal that would see countries invest more in preventative healthcare and support work in an ageing world by:
- Reducing barriers to employment for older people
- Incentivising technology innovation that supports productivity, rather than displacing workers – including older workers who are most at risk.
- Investing in opportunities for lifelong learning
David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK, said, “Policy makers are so fixated on the direct costs of ageing that they fail to notice the significant and growing contributions that older people make. This prevents them from fully realising the social and economic potential of older people – and from appreciating the longevity dividend.”
“Older people’s social and economic impact is already significant, but there’s potential to increase this further. The barriers they face are in part avoidable – and the most important is poor health.”
“Despite the tragedy and the devastation, COVID-19 has placed society in an exceptional moment to prioritise health and act on ageing. It has shown us how health and the economy are linked and has exposed the dangers of under-investing in prevention.”
“Let’s use this shift in mind-set to raise the necessary funds today to realise a longevity dividend tomorrow.”