The Challenge of the Ageing Workforce

Two shifts

There are two major shifts with a huge impact on how we will work in the future. The first is obvious: technological change. The way we work will fundamentally change in the next years. Organizations, industries and even countries are disrupted by the power of digital.

How can we combine longevity with productivity and prosperity?

The second is less obvious. It’s the ageing workforce. How can we combine longevity with productivity and prosperity? People live longer so they can benefit longer from pension schemes. These have become unstable because they are under financed. Let’s not forget that the first pension scheme allowed people to retire at the age of 70 whilst life expectation was only 65. Today people can leave at 60-70 but the life expectation is 85 and increasing. People born around 2000 have 50% chance of becoming 100 years old (Scott & Gratton, 2016).

We have know this for a long time. But yet, we have waited too long to do something about it. And now that governments in some countries have taken action to increase the pension age to 67, this in itself does not solve a lot.

We do not know how to cope with longer careers

Many organizations, like many people, do not how to cope with longer careers. And by increasing the pension age, we do not know how we can provide meaningful work to people who were called “elderly” in the past.

The good news is that these “elderly” are not old. And many of them do not feel old. They are healthier than ever. And active. The second good news is that we should not see ageing as only a process of deterioration. People also gain capabilities. As long as we adapt jobs and work contexts to those changing (both increasing and decreasing) capabilities, we can keep people at work. This is not only valid for ageing people. If we want to develop an inclusive talent market, we will need to redefine how we see jobs, careers, tenure, …

The conference about how to reach the age of 100 successfully in Belgium, #HRPro100

The Belgian Association for HR Professionals, in short, organises its first conference about this theme. A group of HR Professionals has defined 9 levers for developing a strategy that can help organizations and individuals to remain successful throughout their career. And success means that there is a balance between well-being and productivity.

The 9 levers are (1) Sustainable Entrepreneurship, (2) a People Strategy beyond age, (3) Leadership, (4) Organizational and Job Design, (5) Flexible Remuneration, (6) Digitization, (7) Life Planning, (8) Lifelong Learning, (9) Wellbeing & Work.

You can find the programme of that day here (in Dutch & French).

Speakers confirmed so far are Marianne Thyssen (Eurocommissaris), Pieter Timmermans (CEO of VBO-FEB), Vic Van Kerrebroeck (LBC), David Ducheyne ( François Pichault(HEC Liège), Bauduin Auquier ( AgileMaker), Karl Van Hoey (executive coach), Frank Vander Sijpe (Securex), Lou Van Beirendonck (AMS), Fons Leroy (directeur-général VDAB), Hélène Henry (UCL), Ger Driesen (Learning Innovation Leader), Chris Engels & Olivier Debra (Claeys & Engels), Inge Janssens(Experience@Work), Gerda Serbruyns (Vlaamse Overheid), Pascale Van Hoecke(Medina), Lien De Wildeman (Barco), Betty Maes (Acerta) and Margaret Denis(Proximus).

9 levers, 18 speakers, a lot of takeaways in a short time.

I hope that many HR Professionals will find their way to the Proximus Lounge in Brussels on November 30th to learn and to share experience. In the aftermath of this conference we will publish the cases, interviews and ideas so that we can continue the debate.

You can register for the conference on Don’t hesitate to like or share this message in your own network.

Thank you.

How will we reach the age of 100?

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