The macroeconomic implications of population ageing

News | 15 May 2019
At a G20 Framework for Growth Working Group Meeting in Brussels, the ILO discussed some of the macroeconomic implications of population ageing.

The Japanese G20 Presidency has put forward global imbalances and demographic change as two of the main priorities for this year.

Fabio Duran-Valverde, Head of the Public Finance, Actuarial and Statistics Unit in the ILO Social Protection Department, explained that a comprehensive approach is needed to support longer working lives. This includes incentives for employers to retain and recruit older workers, fostering employability via lifelong learning and adult training, and improving the responsiveness of employment services to the demands of older workers.

Policy makers should bear in mind that age by itself is not a valid target. Policy measures and incentives should focus on the most vulnerable older workers. Mr Duran-Valverde also underlined the need to ensure opportunities for quality jobs across all age and population groups.

As populations age, a growing number of people will need labour-intensive personal care at the end of their lives. Expanding quality long-term care to meet the increasing demand may create 50.8 million jobs in the care sector by 2030 and 13.9 million indirect jobs.

Globally, most care workers are women. They are often migrants and working in the informal economy under poor conditions and for low pay. Enhancing long-term care services and health care offers multiple benefits: it increases women’s labour force participation, supports economic growth, reduces inequalities in the distribution of unpaid care work and increases social inclusion.

Promoting decent jobs in the care economy, through reshaping social protection, care, labour and migration policies, is crucial to deliver high-quality care, the ILO concluded.