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Age and the silver economy

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Age and the silver economy

According to a press release published on the website of the German Institute for Economic Research, our neighbor’s economy loses 49 billion euros a year due to a lack of skilled workers. But this is only the beginning of a sad story and an even more pessimistic forecast. According to the authors, Germany today is full of workshops without mechanics, construction sites without electricians and nursing homes without nurses. By 2023, 570,000 jobs will be unfilled. For companies, this means that they could actually produce more, but there is a shortage of workers.

Looking at how our neighbor to the west is trying to deal with the shortage of skilled workers, it is worth considering the worrying demographic projections that also apply to our country.

Maciej Albinowski of the Institute for Structural Research, in an article published in Rzeczpospolita entitled How to prolong Poles’ labor force participation and not lose an election, reminds us that Poland’s demographic structure will continue to deteriorate until 2060, when the number of people aged 65 and over per person of working age will double. The European Commission predicts that the biggest change will take place in the 2040s. This could be a black decade that will end the “golden age” of the Polish economy.

Albinowski’s demand is an interesting one: let’s keep working past 60, but to the best of our ability. In as many full-time hours as the employee chooses. This would be particularly beneficial for women. In Poland, only 24% of women aged 60-64 are still working, while the European average is 42% and in the Baltic countries it is over 60%[1].

This is the expectation of demographers, statisticians and economists, on which the latest survey conducted by the Progres Group has poured a bucket of cold water. The survey shows that only 22% of employers intend to hire people over 60. But even they would be most willing to wait until a law is passed providing for a subsidy for hiring an older person seeking full-time employment, such as a retiree.

However, it is not worth generalizing these figures and applying the same measure to different industries, the study’s authors stress. Many years of experience is valued in professions such as doctors, lawyers, teachers and financiers, among others. These professionals are eager to be hired, even as they approach retirement age. Openness to older employees can also be seen in trade, logistics, nursing, transportation, and manufacturing[2].

According to the Progres Group, more than 1.4 million people aged 60-89 were working in Poland in 2022. Men predominated among the economically active seniors – there were 979,000 of them (67.1%). There were 5.5 million economically inactive people aged 60-74.

-We need soft solutions. Those that will create opportunities, facilitate the employment and professional activity of retirees, but will not be based on coercion or experimentation with working time. There is no doubt that we need to work both longer and more efficiently. All that remains is to prepare appropriate economic incentives – stresses Iwona Gramatyka, CEO of EXPO Katowice.

And finally: Magdalena Bierzyńska-Sudoł and Maria E. Szatlach from Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz wrote some time ago in the article What does the silver economy give us? that “the dynamics of the development of the silver economy may result in a halt in the decline of economic activity both in the country and in individual regions. In turn, regularities will occur where entrepreneurs and politicians understand the importance of the potential of older people as consumers, employees or volunteers.

In fact, it’s hard to add anything more here.

[1] https://www.rp.pl/opinie-ekonomiczne/art40315001-maciej-albinowski-jak-wydluzyc-aktywnosc-zawodowa-polakow-i-nie-przegrac-wyborow

[2] Seniorzy mają niewielkie szanse na pracę. Polska poniżej średniej UE – Bankier.pl.

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