Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess risks and prospects for older workers and to provide a number of recommendations designed to marshal the interests of employees, business and government. - - Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines the terrain of competing interests and dynamic complexities of workforce ageing, by elaborating on the topic of economic globalisation, the policy approaches adopted by government, the actions taken by industry and the working and life preferences of older workers. - - Findings – In the absence of a deep understanding of the current relationship between demographic ageing, the labour market and economic globalisation, the policy aspirations of government face the prospect of limited success. The currently popular premise, that ageing populations go hand-in-hand with ageing workforces, appears to be contradicted by much of the available evidence, which points to rather more complex scenarios, in which outcomes are uncertain, but clearly where late career workers may not necessarily fare well. - - Originality/value – The paper brings analysis to the area of ageing populations and the labour market in the context of globalization – a complex and important topic that is usually dealt with far too simply.
Though there is a consensus surrounding the importance of people working at older ages – and in a more flexible way – trends in employment and trade patterns mean that existing policies are not as effective as they need to be.