As a complement to the “Baltic Sea Labour Forum for Sustainable Working Life” (BSLF-SWL) project documentation, seven individual country reports have been produced to highlight how different the working life situation is depending on each country. They present a short overview of the national policies of the countries involved in the project: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland.
Based on the most recent data from Statistics Denmark, population projections until 2040 forecast a growing number of citizens aged 0-19 years and 60 years or older, while the number of those aged 20-59 years will decline. This marked shift in the age-dependency ratio has urged politicians, labour unions, employer organisations and local workplaces in Denmark to introduce policies to stimulate a prolonged working life and thereby preserve enough workers in the labour force.
The current report aims to provide a country-based overview from Estonia of central national policies that strive at prolonging working life, encompassing areas of lifelong learning, working conditions, occupational health etc. The report also identifies and analyses two good practices from Estonia that are related to prolonging working life.
Finland had the 3rd highest old-age dependency ratio, i.e., the number of individuals aged 65 and over per 100 people of working age (20 to 64), of all OECD countries in 2020. At the same time, fertility rates are shrinking, and the working-age population will decline. An important measure for responding to one of the effects of ageing populations – a shrinking labour force – is to focus on increasing employment rates among older workers. This report will start with an outlook of the current employment situation of older workers, followed by an overview of policies that have been introduced in Finland to encourage later exit from the labour market. The effects – both desired and not – of these reforms will be examined. A section on results from research on factors affecting staying in work longer will also be included. The report concludes with a closer look at an academic study focusing on the labour market attachment of older displaced workers.
The German labour market experienced a sharp rise in employment of older workers before COVID-19 hit. The paper first presents evidence on employment of older groups in relation to overall employment, re-employment, unemployment and work after retirement. Then, it will describe recent policy reforms that hinder and foster job retention. Finally, it will address two projects that aim to extend working life of older workers in Germany.
Anti-discrimination is not widespread in Latvia, but it is undeniable that employers prefer younger workers, as evidenced by wage trends. The gender pay gap is more pronounced and is increasing every year – if in 2014 the gender pay gap was 17.3%, then in 2020 men earned 22.3% more than women for similar work. Based on employment indicators, 68.6% of the age group 55-64 were employed in 2020. Moreover, this figure has tended to increase, as during the last 10 years the employment rate in this age group has increased by 18.1 percentage points. Employment in the age group 55-64 has continued steadily to increase in recent years, i.e., the increase is not only related to the exit from the 2008-2010 economic crisis. In 2021, a slight decline in the labour participation rate in this age group was discernible.
This country profile provides information about key national policies that focus on older workers (55+), prolonging working life and active ageing through access to training, lifelong learning. It also provides an analysis of two good practices related to prolonging working life in Lithuania. Lithuania could be characterised as a country with a changing population structure: decreasing number of children and increasing number of older people, declining of population due to migration and low birth rate. According to Eurostat, the old age dependency ratio has dramatically increased in Lithuania during the last decade.
National policies related to an ageing workforce and prolonging working life have focused on different areas at different times in Poland. In the first decade of the 21st century, the focus was mainly on productive ageing and increasing the labour force participation of older people. This resulted, among others, in the pension system reforms1 and active labour market programmes dedicated to the older unemployed, stimulating both supply side and demand side of the labour market. Such an approach was justified due to the very low employment rate of older people in Poland at that time.