Editor’s picks

Latest news from around the world on mature workers for July 2020.

  • Britain faces demographic timebomb as Covid baby bust looms

    As women delay pregnancy until the economic storm passes, an ageing workforce could affect the UK’s future debt sustainability  –  The Telegraph, 30 July 2020 (paywall)

  • Shifting demographics: A global study on creating inclusive environments for ageing populations

    This report from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is based on findings from the “Scaling Healthy ageing, Inclusive environments and Financial security Today” (SHIFT) Index, a benchmarking analysis around ageing societies, as well as ten in-depth interviews with global experts. The SHIFT Index benchmarks against a set of national-level leading practices in creating an enabling environment supportive of longevity and healthy ageing for societies in 19 countries comprising the Group of Twenty (G20).

    The SHIFT Index captures the multifactorial variables that impact healthy ageing across three domains:

    (1) Adaptive health and social care systems;

    (2) Accessible economic opportunity; and

    (3) Inclusive social structures and institutions

    In this foundational index, The EIU establishes a baseline understanding of each country’s enabling environment and identifies several key findings:

    No G20 country is fully prepared to support healthy, financially secure, socially-connected older people. Despite clear progress made, governments have more work to do to make sure their health systems are adaptive to the needs of older adults as they age, while also fostering inclusion and ensuring individual economic security. Broadly, those countries with a higher proportion of people aged over 50 are implementing more leading practices to enable inclusive environments.

    Enabling adults to age well begins with taking a broad view of how society supports older members, not just focusing on the health system. As a whole, the G20 countries perform best in providing adaptive healthcare systems and worst in providing inclusive social structures and institutions, indicating that countries still have work to do to shift the focus towards building more welcoming societies for older adults as they age. Countries also have room to grow to provide more accessible economic opportunities to older workers.

    Wealthy countries may find it easier to respond, but wealth is not a prerequisite for providing supportive environments. The best scoring health systems tend to be high-income countries, but Indonesia (a lower-middle income country) has been making strides to improve its health system.

    Government data collection isn’t yet robust enough to fully define and identify the problem and opportunity. There are a lack of data on dedicated health professionals, the extent of isolation and loneliness, as well as mental health.  – The Economist

  • Workplace discrimination ‘heightened’ by COVID-19 pandemic (Australia)

    Pre-existing discrimination in the workforce including the gender-wage gap, gender inequality and age discrimination is going to be “heightened” by the coronavirus pandemic.  – Sky News, 26 July 2020

  • Commentary: Older workers vulnerable to rising tide of retrenchment as ageist mindsets persist (Singapore)

    Poor attitudes about older workers and their ability to learn, adapt and work make them an exposed group in a COVID-19 economy. Job losses arising from economic contraction is expected to affect middle-aged and older Singapore workers more adversely.  – Channel News Asia, 25 July 2020

  • Physical stress on the job linked with brain and memory decline in older age

    A new study out of Colorado State University has found that physical stress in one’s job may be associated with faster brain aging and poorer memory.  – Science Daily, 22 July 2020

  • Laid Off From White-Collar Work? Consider Manufacturing (USA)

    Although the coronavirus continues to rattle global markets and industries, some analysts expect to see greater demand for advanced manufacturing talent in the United States as the pandemic diminishes. That could create opportunities for older men and women, including white-collar professionals struggling to find jobs.  – Next Avenue, 21 July 2020

  • Health and safety of ageing workers: a priority for all (Europe)

    By 2030, workers aged 55-64 are expected to make up 30 % or more of the European workforce.

    Resources from a project carried out by EU-OSHA provide analysis of policies and initiatives addressing the ageing of workers across Europe:

    Safer and healthier work at any age – occupational safety and health in the context of an ageing workforce (includes publications)

    Data visualisation tool on ageing and OSH  (2017; how European countries deal with the challenges for safety and health at work)

    2016-17 campaign, Healthy Workplaces for All Ages (healthy working practices for all ages)  – EU-OSHA, 21 July 2020

  • A single rule change has made more than 20,000 women unemployed (UK)

    The idea was to make things more equal, but as a result there are now 20,000 more women unemployed and a massive increase in people claiming universal credit on top of that.  – Mirror, 21 July 2020

  • Healthcare and social services could be key for future job security post-coronavirus

    As women confront disproportionate work challenges entering this recession, researchers are concerned that those who have recently lost their jobs won’t see an improvement in the quality of their work if they choose to enter the social services industry, facing difficult working conditions and casualised labour.  – ABC News, 17 July 2020

  • The Most Insidious Form of Age Discrimination at Work

    About 10 years ago, my boss, mentor and close friend Angelina — who was then in her early 50s — lost her job at our well-known and respected Fortune 50 manufacturing company after working her way up to the executive suite. In the year before, I had noticed some subtle and troubling things about how she was being treated. I would attend a meeting and discover Angelina hadn’t been invited. She was also asked to take on assignments well beneath her skill and talent level. Something didn’t add up.  – Next Avenue, 16 July 2020

  • CBS settles suit over Dallas TV reporter who lost job to former cheerleader (USA)

    CBS has reached a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over allegations of age discrimination at its Dallas TV stations. The CBS-owned KTVT Channel 11 in Dallas refused to hire a popular 42-year-old reporter, Tammy Dombeck Campbell, instead giving the job to a 24-year-old former cheerleader.  – Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2020

  • How a shrinking and ageing global population could impact women’s reproductive rights

    Population numbers are expected to peak at 9.7 billion in 2064 and then fall to 8.8 billion by 2100 – as more women access education and contraception, according to a new study. This has prompted concerns that some countries could target reproductive rights as a way to stop their populations from shrinking.  – SBS, 15 July 2020

  • How Covid-19 is impacting employment for older workers (USA)

    Since February, the share of employed US adults 65 years has dropped by 16%, versus an 11% decline for all Americans 16 years and older, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  – Quartz, 14 July 2020

  • U.S. Supreme Court: Ministerial Exception Bars Teachers’ Age and Disability Discrimination Claims

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the First Amendment ministerial exception doctrine bars courts from entertaining an age or disability employment discrimination claim brought by two elementary school teachers against their prior Catholic school employers.  – JD Supra, 13 July 2020

  • Births in Italy Hit Record Low in 2019, Population Shrinks Again

    The number of babies born in Italy hit a new record low in 2019, the population shrank and more Italians moved abroad, national statistics office ISTAT said on Monday. Italy’s demographic crisis, with a dwindling population and ageing workforce, is one reason for its chronically stagnant economy, economists say – and the situation is getting worse.  – New York Times, 13 July 2020

  • Crucial for Singapore to tap ageing workforce

    The coronavirus pandemic is crowding out pretty much everything else these days, but a sea change in Singapore’s employment law that will affect everyone at some point is steadily moving ahead.

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong flagged the move in his National Day Rally speech last year when he announced that the statutory retirement age will be raised gradually from 62 to 65 by 2030 – the first time in 20 years it will go up.  – The Straits Times, 13 July 2020