50+ older workers

We could be forgiven for thinking that the place of older workers in the labour market is rather contradictory. On the one hand, according to The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) those over 50 are at risk of redundancy in the current downturn, and are the target group of a number of ESF projects – ESF's ability to tackle and showcase innovative responses was the focus of a major conference held on 24 November by The Age and Employment Network (TAEN). On the other hand, long-term demographic change has not gone away, there are plans to raise the retirement age in the coming years, and there is little doubt that most people will need to work in one way or another beyond their 50s and into their 60s. There are a number of important questions to ask about the working situation for older workers:
  • what skills are going to be needed?
  • what are the particular issues for an ageing workforce as technology changes and career paths twist and turn from one opportunity to the next?
  • what can public policy do to anticipate change and help older workers thrive in the future?

The European Social Fund, with its longer-term perspective and role to introduce new approaches, is at the forefront of work with the 50+ age group. Find out about a regional approach to demographic change; opportunities and challenges from changes to the care system; new partnership approaches with the Health Service; and new participation methods. The ESF-Works 50+ Older workers theme focuses on the future for older workers.

An interview with Chris Ball (CEO of TAEN), and Stephen Boon (managing consultant at Greater London Enterprise) took place on 12 November 2009 to discuss and debate the responses by employers and policy makers to ensure that older workers can fully participate in the labour market. In addition to the interview, John Bell, ESF-Works policy editor, interviewed academics, policy makers and practitioners at the TAEN conference to get their views on issues affecting older workers.