Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development: Political Challenges within the Baltic Sea Region
In upcoming decades, the Baltic Sea States will face considerable challenges with regard to population ageing. In the majority of the countries (Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden), between 31% and 28% of the population will be 65 years or older in 2050. For the remaining countries (Denmark, Estonia, Iceland and Norway), the corresponding numbers range between 27% and 24% (UN Population Division, 2001). This disproportionate age distribution yields significant social and economic consequences, mainly due to a shrinking labour force and increasing financial imbalances within the region’s social security, pension and healthcare systems. Sustainable policies are needed to address the causes and consequences of demographic change, as population ageing will have strong impacts, not only on economic growth, but also on social cohesion (between social groups) and social sustainability (between generations) within the region. Therefore, it is essential to learn more about how to best make use of the resources at hand by fostering active and healthy ageing, and increasing the labour force participation of older people.
In this volume, 11 chapters are dedicated to describe the specific situation in each of the Baltic Sea State countries. The authors are researchers with profound expertise of the national situation of the workforce participation of older adults, whose articles compile the national status quo, highlight pathways of reforms in the retirement system, and provide evidence- based policy recommendations for prolonging working lives. Thus, the discussion paper provides thorough evidence and enables debate of the issues at hand from a comparative perspective, as well as in light of the Baltic Sea States region as a whole.