Longer and generally healthier lives represent one of the major achievements of modern societies. Yet, paradoxically, population ageing – a consequence of extended life spans – is one of the most pressing challenges confronting countries around the world, promising serious social, economic and labour market repercussions. Although this demographic trend is universal, its pace and magnitude vary considerably across regions and countries within regions. 1 The process is already at an advanced stage in developed countries and is projected to progress rapidly in developing ones in a few decades.
This paper presents ideas on what retailers, the sectoral social partners and governments could do to boost the industry’s ability to attract and retain older workers in order to compensate for the predicted shrinkage in the sector’s traditional labour base of young workers. It starts by outlining the current work processes and the associated working environment in the sector, as well as the age, gender, occupational and skills profiles and employment characteristics of the current workforce, in order to identify what changes could be made to make jobs in the sector more attractive to older workers. The focus then shifts to the demographic and labour force issues affecting the sector, which will challenge retailers’ ability to satisfy their future workforce requirements. Possible policy responses to those challenges are then presented.
Source: International Labour Organization
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