EU goverments urged to act on impending ‘age timebomb’

EU member states need a radical overhaul of employment policies if they are
to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

The 2010 Work Odyssey Conference was told the only way to do so was to
encourage older staff to work past the age of 60, and to enable more migrant
workers to enter the workforce,

In one of the key debates on the future European jobs market, governments
were urged to act now on Europe’s demographic timebomb or lose ground on the
rest of the world.

According to data from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies,
three in 10 European workers are currently over 60, but by 2040 the UK could
face a scenario where six in 10 would be aged over 60.

The predictions for other European countries are even worse, and Fred van
Haasteren, chairman of European temporary business organisation CIETT, said:
"If the EU is to remain competitive, we need to mobilise every worker we

Professor Pieter Emmer of the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, told
the conference that Europe faced a situation that was "unique in
history". It has an ageing population, its workforce is working shorter
hours, and women were having fewer children than ever before, he said.

To sustain economic growth in the long term, Emmer said governments would
need to persuade people to work beyond the age of 60, and encourage more

However, to avoid the disasters of the past, he said that governments needed
to find ways of restricting migrant workers’ access to already over-burdened
social security systems.

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