According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a top concern for employers by 2020 will be how to manage an ageing workforce.
Almost three quarters (71 per cent) of the 480 senior executives at companies across Europe surveyed by the Unit said that they expect the number of their employees aged 60+ to increase by 2020, including 22 per cent who expect it to increase significantly.
Historically low birth rates and increasing life expectancy mean that Europe’s working population is ageing fast. In 2012, the continent reached an inevitable demographic tipping point. The percentage of the population at working age fell for the first time in 40 years. It is now forecast to fall every year until 2060.
Key findings of the report include:
- By 2020 senior executives believe that managing an ageing workforce will have moved up the human resources agenda from number seven today, to a top three concern.
- As a result of the ageing workforce, almost half (43 per cent) expect greater employee demand for benefits and over one-third (35 per cent) expect increased flexible working.
- Although managers think the top concern for employees now is job security, by 2020—when the economic climate and job market are expected to have improved—work-life balance and employment flexibility are expected to be more important priorities.
- Nearly half (43 per cent) of employers expect employee demand for healthcare and retirement provision to grow, with the majority (55 per cent) believing that the cost of providing healthcare benefits to an ageing population will increasingly fall on employers.
As Europe recovers from years of economic crisis, companies will begin to shift their focus away from cost control, with new priorities such as people management (cited by 42 per cent) emerging in the years to 2020. Almost half (46 per cent) of survey respondents say that the ability to manage talent will be one of the top drivers of change in their business in 2020, second only to new technologies and globalisation.