Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Demographic transitions could pose challenges to ageing labours: ILO

Fast changing demographics present a huge challenge to global labour markets and social security systems worldwide, which must be urgently addressed, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said.
Discussions at the annual International Labour Conference (ILC) concluded that with the right combination of policies and the commitment and action of relevant stakeholders, demographic transitions not only become manageable and sustainable but can also be turned into opportunities.
The conclusions adopted by the ILC Committee on Employment and Social Protection in the New Demographic Context, emphasise the need for a long-term policy vision to address the employment and social protection needs of people of all ages and to promote shared responsibility and solidarity between generations.
“These conclusions show that a life-cycle approach to the world of work is needed. Employment and social protection policies should be developed in such a way so as to reinforce one another in response to the specific and diverse employment, income patterns and needs of different aged populations,” said deputy representative of the ILC secretary general at the Committee and director of the ILO Employment Policy Department Azita Berar Awad.
“It means skills development and job opportunities for youth, fair wages and rights for those in work and social protection for those unemployed, job opportunities and training for older workers, and pensions for the retired,” she added.
A report for the ILC presented the scale of the challenge, in a context in which the world’s population will surpass nine billion by 2050 and the number of people aged 60 years and over will have tripled.
Three-quarters of older persons will be living in what are now developing countries and the majority will be women.
In addition, by 2050 there will be only four people of working age for every person over 65, compared to nine in the year 2000. The new demographic context, the report warns, has profound implications for labour markets, social security systems, employment and economic development.
The conclusions underscored the need for a comprehensive, multi-dimensional, integrated and innovative policy mix that recognises the interdependency between demographic shifts, employment, labour migration, social protection and economic development.
They emphasised that while principles and rights at work are universal, policies are context-specific and each country needs to develop the right policy mix appropriate to its situation.
The ILC Committee recommended employment-centred policies and development strategies to generate decent and productive jobs for all working-age groups. It noted that skills mismatches and shortages are a common challenge and that measures to improve and update skills throughout the life-cycle are an essential part of the policy mix.

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