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PwC Golden Age Index
How well are OECD economies adapting to an older workforce?
June 2015
Visit our blog for periodic updates at:
pwc.blogs.com/economics_in_business
PwC
Contents
1. Executive summary Page 3
2. PwC Golden Age Index – Key results Page 7
3. Potential boost to UK GDP Page 10
4. Implications for public policy and businesses Page 14
5. Comparison of individual labour market indicators Page 17
6. Comparison with other measures Page 26
Annex: Methodology Page 31
Contacts Page 35
2
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC Golden Age Index
Executive summary
PwC  3
PwC
PwC Golden Age Index – Executive Summary
Headlines
Our new Golden Age Index measures how well countries are doing in harnessing the potential of
their older workers. The index is a weighted average of seven indicators that reflect the labour market
impact of workers aged over 55 in 34 OECD countries, including employment, earnings and training.
The UK fell three places in the index rankings from 16th in 2003 to 19th in 2007,
retaining this 19th position in 2013. The UK improved its absolute performance over this period,
but other OECD countries on average improved by a greater amount. Compared to other EU countries
in our sample, however, the UK scored relatively well (7th out of 21 in 2013).
Scandinavian countries perform strongly on the Golden Age Index, similar to the results of
the PwC Women in Work index. Iceland leads the way on our index, having retained its top position
since 2003, followed by New Zealand and Sweden. Israel, Norway and Chile also do well.
Chile and Israel showed the most significant improvement from 2003 to 2013, driven by
their increased employment rate for older workers. Greece and Turkey fell the most in the rankings since
2003, while Eurozone members performed relatively poorly with only 3 in the top half of the rankings.
Government policy measures to boost index scores could include: offering tax rebates for
companies taking on older workers; increasing spending on retraining of older workers including
digital skills and apprenticeships; and enforcing age discrimination laws more strictly.
Businesses could gain from job redesign and role shifts to enable longer careers and manage the
health issues facing older workers. Training and development should not stop at 50. Family crisis
leave, career breaks and alumni programmes could all help to utilise the skills of older workers at a
time when customer bases are also ageing. Age should be included in diversity audits for companies.
If the UK’s employment rate for workers aged 55-69 was equal to that of Sweden, which is the best
performing EU country, then UK GDP would be around 5.4% higher, equivalent to around £100
billion at today’s GDP values. This would also help to meet the fiscal costs of an ageing population.
4
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC
The UK has improved its Golden Age Index score over time,
but still sits near the middle of the pack as the OECD average
has also risen
PwC Golden Age Index
1. Iceland
2. New Zealand
3. Sweden
.
.
.
19. UK
.
.
.
.
33. Slovenia
34. Turkey
5
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60
2003 2007 2013
PwCGoldenAgeIndex
UK
OECD average
PwC
Potential £100bn boost to UK GDP by increasing older
worker employment rates to Swedish levels
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
UK Sweden
55-64FTEemploymentrate
Part-time
Full-time
If the UK had Sweden’s older worker
employment rates, GDP could be around
5.4%, or c.£100bn, larger
6
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD. Part-time shown on full-time equivalent basis (0.5 FT) in chart.
PwC Golden Age Index
Key results
PwC  7
PwC
About the PwC Golden Age Index
8
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Labour Market Indicators
The PwC Golden Age Index combines
national performance on the following
labour market indicators (with
relative weights shown in brackets):
• Employment rate 55-64 (40%)
• Employment rate 65-69 (20%)
• Gender gap in employment, 55-64:
ratio men/women (10%)
• Incidence of part-time work 55-64
(10%)
• Full time earnings 55-64 relative to
25-54 (10%)
• Average effective exit age from the
labour force (5%)
• Participation in training 55-64
(5%)
Process
These indicators are normalised,
weighted and aggregated to
generate index scores for each
country.
The index scores are on a scale from
0 to 100, with the average OECD
value in the base year of 2003 set to
50. However, the average index
values for 2007 and 2013 can be
higher or lower than this 2003
baseline.
See Annex for more details of
the methodology.
Data
All data are taken from the
OECD.
We focus mostly on the 55-64
age group as this is the only one
where standardised data are
available for a broad range of
OECD countries.
We do, however, include total
employment rates for 65-69 year
olds in the index.
The latest data available across
the broad range of countries
covered are for 2013.
PwC
Figure 1: PwC Golden Age Index – Key results
UK falls
three
places
from 16th
to 19th
between
2003 and
2013
Scandinavian
countries
take 2 of the
top 5 places
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
9
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Rank
Country
Index
2003 2007 2013 2013 2007 2003
1 1 1 Iceland 93.4 93.7 94.1
9 2 2 New Zealand 79.7 71.6 61.2
3 4 3 Sweden 78.2 70.8 68.1
12 11 4 Israel 77.1 65.7 58.9
2 7 5 Norway 74.5 69.8 69.0
14 13 6 Chile 74.4 65.0 56.2
4 5 7 United States 73.4 70.4 68.0
6 6 8 Korea 72.9 70.3 64.8
5 3 9 Japan 71.8 71.0 67.6
13 8 10 Estonia 71.2 69.0 56.8
7 10 11 Switzerland 71.1 65.7 63.7
10 14 12 Denmark 67.1 62.5 60.4
8 12 13 Mexico 65.1 65.4 63.5
15 15 14 Canada 64.3 58.2 53.7
20 17 15 Australia 63.2 55.3 46.9
17 16 16 Finland 62.0 58.0 49.9
11 9 17 Portugal 60.9 66.3 60.2
25 21 18 Germany 58.7 47.3 37.0
16 19 19 United Kingdom 58.1 53.6 50.3
27 26 20 Netherlands 53.4 42.4 35.3
23 23 21 Czech Republic 53.3 46.1 42.8
28 24 22 Austria 50.9 44.5 33.4
22 20 23 Spain 49.4 48.1 43.1
24 25 24 France 48.9 44.3 42.4
18 18 25 Ireland 47.8 55.1 47.9
29 30 26 Italy 42.7 35.4 32.0
33 29 27 Belgium 42.5 36.5 30.2
34 34 28 Slovak Republic 42.4 31.1 22.4
19 22 29 Greece 42.2 46.7 47.1
26 33 30 Poland 42.1 32.0 35.7
30 28 31 Hungary 41.8 37.6 31.9
31 31 32 Luxembourg 41.0 33.9 31.7
32 27 33 Slovenia 39.2 38.1 30.3
21 32 34 Turkey 36.7 33.0 43.6
Average 59.2 54.5 50.0
PwC Golden Age Index
Potential boost to UK GDP
PwC  10
PwC
Potential £100bn boost to UK GDP by increasing older
worker employment rates to Swedish levels
We break down GDP in the following way:
Key assumptions
• Total employment in the economy is equal to employment within the 15-69 age group.
• A full-time (FT) worker is twice as productive on average as a part-time (PT) worker.
We took Sweden as a benchmark country as it is the best performing in the EU and calculated the
impact on UK GDP if the 55-64 and 65-69 FT and PT employment rates in the UK were equal to
Sweden’s.
Result
If the UK’s employment rates had been equal to Sweden’s in 2013, GDP could have been around 5.4%
higher, equating to around £100 billion at today’s GDP values. Since 2013, both countries have seen
rising older age employment rates, but the gap between the two remains similar.
Higher GDP of this magnitude would boost tax revenues and reduce benefit payments significantly,
helping to meet the long-term health, social care and state pension costs of an ageing population
(which were recently estimated by the OBR to be over 4% of GDP in the long term).
GDP
15-54 FT
* GDP per
FT worker
15-54 PT
* GDP per
PT worker
55-64 FT
* GDP per
FT worker
55-64 PT
* GDP per
PT worker
65-69 FT
* GDP per
FT worker
= + + + + +
65-69 PT
* GDP per
PT worker
11
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC
More older workers should add to total employment and
output, rather than just displacing younger workers
12
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
The total number of jobs in the economy should therefore ultimately rise to match the
increased supply of labour, with a corresponding rise in output. This is the basis for our
calculations of the potential boost to UK GDP from raising older worker employment rates to
Swedish levels.
This process will be eased, however, if companies can move away from linear seniority-based
career paths. This would allow older workers, where appropriate later in their careers, to shift
down into part-time or advisory roles, avoiding any possible blockage to the career
progression of younger workers.
From the perspective of an individual company at a point in time, it might seem that more
older workers could just block progression and new job opportunities for younger workers.
However, from a longer term macroeconomic perspective, as we are adopting in this study,
this should not be the case. This is because people working for longer will have more income
to spend, and this extra spending will feed through into increased demand for labour to
produce the additional goods and services that these older workers want to buy.
PwC
Possible lessons from Sweden to promote employment
among older workers
13
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
A new state pension regime introduced in the 1990s provided incentives to keep working
beyond 65, supported by tax incentives for both individuals and employers. An evaluation by
Laun (2012) estimated that this boosted employment rates for over-65s by 1.5 percentage
points.
Eligibility criteria for disability pensions have also been tightened significantly since the
1990s, reducing a major incentive for early retirement.
Policies to keep women in the workforce after maternity (e.g. generous state-funded childcare
and parental leave) also seem to be reflected in longer working lives for women. This may also
be influenced by evolving social norms.
Sweden has one of the OECD’s highest employment rates for older workers, particularly
amongst women.
This reflects a series of policy measures since the early 1990s to counteract early retirement
and support older workers.
PwC Golden Age Index
Implications for public policy and
businesses
PwC  14
PwC
Implications for public policy
The PwC Golden Age Index provides a high level assessment of OECD countries’ labour markets and an
overview of their progress over time relative to other countries. This analysis can help to identify countries
with high scores (e.g. Sweden as discussed above) where there may be useful policies in place that other
countries (e.g. the UK or the Eurozone economies) could consider to boost employment of older workers.
Governments could consider further reforms of state pension systems to encourage later retirement.
Some countries, including the UK and Sweden, are already phasing in future rises in state pension ages, while
in others (including Sweden but not the UK) state pension entitlements are adjusted on the basis of expected
life expectancy at the time of retirement. The financial benefits of deferring both state and private pensions
should be communicated more widely.
Boosting employment rates for older women is also particularly important in some countries, which
could include measures to allow flexible working around caring responsibilities (whether for elderly parents or
grandchildren).
Governments could create greater financial incentives for older workers to remain in or re-enter the labour
force. For example, as in Sweden, there could be national insurance or payroll tax deductions for employers
that take on older workers (as exists for NICs in the UK for younger workers). There could also be higher
income tax allowances for workers over 65, as in Sweden, or ‘wage top-ups’ for 60-64 year olds who continue
to work beyond retirement, as in Japan. Many pensioners may continue to work (at least) part-time in future.
Governments could remove the barriers to continued employment and encourage recruitment of older
workers by reviewing current legislation around age discrimination, flexible working and private pensions so
they do not incentivise early retirement. Past UK governments have taken steps in this direction, but the
Altmann review argues they need to do more to enforce age discrimination legislation and in other areas.
Governments could also introduce new training initiatives to improve the employability of older workers.
This could include training in digital skills, adult learning loans and some form of retraining-based
apprenticeships for older workers of the kind that are commonplace for younger workers in the UK and
elsewhere. Job centres should focus on helping with online job search and self-marketing skills.
15
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC
Implications for businesses
Opportunities and challenges
Our Golden Age index covers a range of labour market indicators that businesses could take into account
when identifying potential business locations. The index also highlights the growth potential for
businesses in some countries where employment rates are relatively low for older workers but populations
are steadily ageing.
Businesses who make better use of the skills and experience of older workers could gain a competitive
advantage at a time when their customer bases are also ageing. This will, however, require more flexibility in
areas such as job design, role shifts and allowance for the health issues that older workers may face.
Companies would benefit from doing a comprehensive audit of their age profile that covers
recruitment, retention, training, reward and performance. Age should be treated as an important element in
wider diversity audits.
Employers may also need to rethink their attitudes to training and development for older workers, so
that this does not ‘stop at 50’. This may also include giving senior staff better training in how to manage older
workers, which may involve cultural shifts where there is no longer a strict seniority-based hierarchy.
Changes in employment legislation for older workers may have significant business implications in
relation to issues such as age discrimination and laws around temporary and flexible working for older
workers.
An ageing workforce may also demand different approaches to reward in terms of the balance between
salaries, pension benefits, holiday entitlements, health insurance and other benefits (e.g. allowing career
breaks for long-serving older workers).
16
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC Golden Age Index
Comparison of individual labour
market indicators
PwC  17
PwC
Figure 2: Employment rate of 55-64 year olds
Employment increased in the majority of OECD countries (including the UK)
with the rate in Germany rising particularly rapidly between 2003 and 2013.
However, rates fell in Portugal and Greece over this period.
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
18
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Employmentrate55-64(%)
Employment rate 55-64 (%)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Figure 3: Employment rate of 65-69 year olds
The employment rate of this age group varies significantly across the OECD
countries from 50% in Iceland to only 3% in Slovak Republic. The UK has
shown a clear upward trend over time, but is still below the top performers.
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
19
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Employmentrate65-69(%)
Employment rate 65-69 (%)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Figure 4: Gender gap in employment for 55-64 year olds
(ratio men/women)
The gender gap in employment has decreased in most of the OECD countries
with the steepest falls occurring in Slovak Republic and Spain (but only modest
progress in the UK on this measure).
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
20
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
Gendergapinemployment,55-64(ratio)
Gender gap in employment, 55-64 (ratio)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Figure 5: Incidence of part-time work for 55-64 year olds
The UK has the 4th highest incidence of part-time work for this age group
amongst the OECD countries (though this will be what some workers want)
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
21
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
Incidenceofpart-timework,55-64(%)
Incidence of part-time work, 55-64 (%)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Figure 6: Full-time earnings of 55-64 year olds relative to 25-
54 year olds
Relative full-time earnings across age groups has remained broadly constant
since 2003 in most countries. The UK has one of the lowest ratios here.
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
22
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
Full-timeearnings55-64relativeto25-54(ratio)
Full-time earnings 55-64 relative to 25-54 (ratio)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Figure 7: Average effective labour force exit age
The average effective labour force exit age increased in the majority of
countries from 2003 to 2013, including the UK, but Mexico and Ireland
experienced declines (the former from an exceptionally high level in 2007).
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
23
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
55
57
59
61
63
65
67
69
71
73
75
Averageeffectivelabourforceexitage(years)
Average effective labour force exit age (years)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Figure 8: Participation in training of 55-64 year olds
Northern European countries tend to have a relatively high proportion of 55-64
year olds in training. The UK has seen a fall in training participation rates
amongst this age group since 2007, but remains above the OECD median rate.
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
24
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
'Participationintraining,55-64(%ofallemployedintheagegroup)
Participation in training, 55-64 (% of all employed in the age group)
2013 2007 2003
PwC
Overall UK performance on the Golden Age index is only
middling (19th from 34 OECD countries)
25
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
01
02
03
04
Close to median performance on employment rates
for 55-64 year olds, relative male/female
employment rates and average workforce exit ages.
Somewhat above median
performance on employment rates
for 65-69 year olds and average
training rates for 55-64 year olds.
Below median performance on the
share of full-time working for 55-64
year olds and relative full-time
average earnings rates for 55-64 year
olds compared to younger workers.
Overall UK performance has improved since 2003
on most measures except training participation, but
by slightly less than the OECD average, resulting in
a ranking fall from 16th in 2003 to 19th in 2013.
PwC Golden Age Index
Comparison with other measures
PwC  26
PwC
There is a positive correlation between the Golden Age Index
and life expectancy, implying that countries where people
live for longer also tend to have longer working lives
27
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD, World Health Organisation
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Chile
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
KoreaLuxembourg
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Lifeexpectancyatbirth(years)
PwC Golden Age Index (2013)
Figure 9: PwC Golden Age Index and life expectancy
PwC
There is a wide variation in Golden Age index scores across
EU countries with similar state pension ages, although there
is some (fairly weak) evidence of positive correlation here
28
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Sources: PwC analysis, EU European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2012)
Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
30 40 50 60 70 80 90
EUaveragestatepensionage2012(years)
PwC Golden Age Index (2013)
Figure 10: PwC Golden Age Index and EU average state pension age
PwC
The Golden Age Index is positively correlated with GDP per
capita within developed economies, but the relationship is
relatively weak in statistical terms
29
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
AustraliaAustria
Belgium
Chile
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
GreeceHungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy Japan
Korea
Luxembourg
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
PortugalSlovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
80,000
90,000
100,000
30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
GDPpercapita,2013(USD,currentprices)
PwC Golden Age Index (2013)
Figure 11: PwC Golden Age Index and GDP per capita
PwC
There is a strong, positive correlation between the PwC
Golden Age and Women in Work indices, perhaps reflecting
common labour market policies and social norms
30
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
Sources: PwC analysis, OECD
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Canada
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Korea
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom United States
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0 90.0
PwCWomeninWorkIndex(2013)
PwC Golden Age Index (2013)
Figure 12: PwC Golden Age Index and PwC Women in Work Index
PwC Golden Age Index
Annex: Methodology
PwC  31
PwC
PwC Golden Age Index Methodology
Variables included in the index
Indicator Weight Factor* Rationale
Employment rate, 55-64 (%
of the age group) 40% 1
The proportion of 55-64 year old workers in employment is the most
important measure in our index and so has the highest weight of 40%.
Employment rate, 65-69 (%
of the age group) 20% 1
The proportion of 65-69 year old workers has half the weighting of
that of 55-64 year old workers assuming the 65-69 age group is
roughly half as large in terms of population.
Gender gap in employment,
55-64 (ratio men/women) 10% -1
Gender equality in employment is included here as lower employment
rates among older women tend to be a particular feature of many
OECD countries.
Incidence of part-time work,
55-64 (% of total
employment)
10% -1
Part-time employment may adversely affect earnings, pensions and
job security, but this is given a lower weight in the index since some
older workers may prefer part-time work.
Full-time earnings, 55-64
relative to 25-54 (ratio) 10% 1
Earnings equality would represent equal pay across age groups and
could also be an indicator of the relative labour productivity of older
workers.
Average effective labour force
exit age (years)
5% 1
This measures the length of time a worker stays in the labour force
before they become economically inactive. However, there is some
overlap with other variables such as employment rates so we do not
give it too high a weight in the index.
Participation in training of
55-64 age group (% of all
employed in the age group) 5% 1
This is an indication of how far older workers keep learning beyond
age 55, which will be important in keeping them employable and
renewing their skills. But data are lacking for several countries, so we
do not give this too high a weight in the index.
32
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
*Indicates whether higher values of an indicator are positively or negatively scored in the index
PwC
PwC Golden Age Index Methodology
How does it work?
02
Apply positive/negative
factor
Positive/negative factors are applied so
each variable enters the index with the
correct sign (e.g. positive for
employment rates, negative for gender
gap in employment).
04
Scale the index
Scores are rescaled to values between 0
and 100 with the average value across all
34 countries set, by definition, to 50 in
2003.
Calculating
the PwC
Golden Age
Index
Normalise
Indicators are standardised using the z-
score method, based on the mean and
standard deviation of the sample of 34
countries in a base year of 2003, to allow
for comparisons both across countries
and across time.
03
Calculate the scores
The scores are constructed as a weighted
average of normalised labour market
indicator values.
01
We used a standard method to construct this index, similar to the one used in the PwC Women in Work and ESCAPE
indices, and by many other researchers constructing such indices.
33
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC
We also tested the robustness of our findings to using some
alternative variables and weights
We considered including unemployment rates as a variable either in absolute terms for the 55-64
age group, or relative to the rate for all age groups. However, this made the index more sensitive
to short-term cyclical trends whereas our focus here was more on longer-term structural issues,
so we decided not to include unemployment rates in the final index. This would not, however,
greatly change the UK’s relative ranking.
We also considered alternative weighting schemes, but these did not alter our key results such as:
• Scandinavian countries tending to come at the top of the index together with others such as
New Zealand, Israel and Chile.
• The UK having a middling rank of around 16-20th among the 34 OECD countries in the index
in 2013, generally with some decline over time, particularly in 2003-7.
34
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
PwC
Contacts
For more information about this report please contact:
Our Economics and Policy practice offers a wide range of services covering: market reform in a range of industry
sectors (including energy, water, media and telecoms, financial services, health and government services); competition
policy, disputes and other investigations; economic, social and environmental impact analysis; financial economics;
fiscal policy and macroeconomics.
For more information about these services please visit our website: www.pwc.co.uk/economics-policy
This study forms part of our wider Megatrends research programme: www.pwc.co.uk/megatrends
David Tran
david.n.tran@uk.pwc.com
John Hawksworth
john.c.hawksworth@uk.pwc.com
Conor Lambe
conor.r.lambe@uk.pwc.com
Andrew Sentance
andrew.w.sentance@uk.pwc.com
35
June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the
information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the
accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and, to the extent permitted by law, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, its members,
employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to
act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.
© 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. In this document, "PwC" refers to the UK member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC
network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.
150429-151615-GL-UK

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PwC’s new Golden Age Index – how well are countries harnessing the power of older workers?

  • 1. PwC Golden Age Index How well are OECD economies adapting to an older workforce? June 2015 Visit our blog for periodic updates at: pwc.blogs.com/economics_in_business
  • 2. PwC Contents 1. Executive summary Page 3 2. PwC Golden Age Index – Key results Page 7 3. Potential boost to UK GDP Page 10 4. Implications for public policy and businesses Page 14 5. Comparison of individual labour market indicators Page 17 6. Comparison with other measures Page 26 Annex: Methodology Page 31 Contacts Page 35 2 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 3. PwC Golden Age Index Executive summary PwC  3
  • 4. PwC PwC Golden Age Index – Executive Summary Headlines Our new Golden Age Index measures how well countries are doing in harnessing the potential of their older workers. The index is a weighted average of seven indicators that reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in 34 OECD countries, including employment, earnings and training. The UK fell three places in the index rankings from 16th in 2003 to 19th in 2007, retaining this 19th position in 2013. The UK improved its absolute performance over this period, but other OECD countries on average improved by a greater amount. Compared to other EU countries in our sample, however, the UK scored relatively well (7th out of 21 in 2013). Scandinavian countries perform strongly on the Golden Age Index, similar to the results of the PwC Women in Work index. Iceland leads the way on our index, having retained its top position since 2003, followed by New Zealand and Sweden. Israel, Norway and Chile also do well. Chile and Israel showed the most significant improvement from 2003 to 2013, driven by their increased employment rate for older workers. Greece and Turkey fell the most in the rankings since 2003, while Eurozone members performed relatively poorly with only 3 in the top half of the rankings. Government policy measures to boost index scores could include: offering tax rebates for companies taking on older workers; increasing spending on retraining of older workers including digital skills and apprenticeships; and enforcing age discrimination laws more strictly. Businesses could gain from job redesign and role shifts to enable longer careers and manage the health issues facing older workers. Training and development should not stop at 50. Family crisis leave, career breaks and alumni programmes could all help to utilise the skills of older workers at a time when customer bases are also ageing. Age should be included in diversity audits for companies. If the UK’s employment rate for workers aged 55-69 was equal to that of Sweden, which is the best performing EU country, then UK GDP would be around 5.4% higher, equivalent to around £100 billion at today’s GDP values. This would also help to meet the fiscal costs of an ageing population. 4 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 5. PwC The UK has improved its Golden Age Index score over time, but still sits near the middle of the pack as the OECD average has also risen PwC Golden Age Index 1. Iceland 2. New Zealand 3. Sweden . . . 19. UK . . . . 33. Slovenia 34. Turkey 5 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 2003 2007 2013 PwCGoldenAgeIndex UK OECD average
  • 6. PwC Potential £100bn boost to UK GDP by increasing older worker employment rates to Swedish levels 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% UK Sweden 55-64FTEemploymentrate Part-time Full-time If the UK had Sweden’s older worker employment rates, GDP could be around 5.4%, or c.£100bn, larger 6 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Sources: PwC analysis, OECD. Part-time shown on full-time equivalent basis (0.5 FT) in chart.
  • 7. PwC Golden Age Index Key results PwC  7
  • 8. PwC About the PwC Golden Age Index 8 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Labour Market Indicators The PwC Golden Age Index combines national performance on the following labour market indicators (with relative weights shown in brackets): • Employment rate 55-64 (40%) • Employment rate 65-69 (20%) • Gender gap in employment, 55-64: ratio men/women (10%) • Incidence of part-time work 55-64 (10%) • Full time earnings 55-64 relative to 25-54 (10%) • Average effective exit age from the labour force (5%) • Participation in training 55-64 (5%) Process These indicators are normalised, weighted and aggregated to generate index scores for each country. The index scores are on a scale from 0 to 100, with the average OECD value in the base year of 2003 set to 50. However, the average index values for 2007 and 2013 can be higher or lower than this 2003 baseline. See Annex for more details of the methodology. Data All data are taken from the OECD. We focus mostly on the 55-64 age group as this is the only one where standardised data are available for a broad range of OECD countries. We do, however, include total employment rates for 65-69 year olds in the index. The latest data available across the broad range of countries covered are for 2013.
  • 9. PwC Figure 1: PwC Golden Age Index – Key results UK falls three places from 16th to 19th between 2003 and 2013 Scandinavian countries take 2 of the top 5 places Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 9 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Rank Country Index 2003 2007 2013 2013 2007 2003 1 1 1 Iceland 93.4 93.7 94.1 9 2 2 New Zealand 79.7 71.6 61.2 3 4 3 Sweden 78.2 70.8 68.1 12 11 4 Israel 77.1 65.7 58.9 2 7 5 Norway 74.5 69.8 69.0 14 13 6 Chile 74.4 65.0 56.2 4 5 7 United States 73.4 70.4 68.0 6 6 8 Korea 72.9 70.3 64.8 5 3 9 Japan 71.8 71.0 67.6 13 8 10 Estonia 71.2 69.0 56.8 7 10 11 Switzerland 71.1 65.7 63.7 10 14 12 Denmark 67.1 62.5 60.4 8 12 13 Mexico 65.1 65.4 63.5 15 15 14 Canada 64.3 58.2 53.7 20 17 15 Australia 63.2 55.3 46.9 17 16 16 Finland 62.0 58.0 49.9 11 9 17 Portugal 60.9 66.3 60.2 25 21 18 Germany 58.7 47.3 37.0 16 19 19 United Kingdom 58.1 53.6 50.3 27 26 20 Netherlands 53.4 42.4 35.3 23 23 21 Czech Republic 53.3 46.1 42.8 28 24 22 Austria 50.9 44.5 33.4 22 20 23 Spain 49.4 48.1 43.1 24 25 24 France 48.9 44.3 42.4 18 18 25 Ireland 47.8 55.1 47.9 29 30 26 Italy 42.7 35.4 32.0 33 29 27 Belgium 42.5 36.5 30.2 34 34 28 Slovak Republic 42.4 31.1 22.4 19 22 29 Greece 42.2 46.7 47.1 26 33 30 Poland 42.1 32.0 35.7 30 28 31 Hungary 41.8 37.6 31.9 31 31 32 Luxembourg 41.0 33.9 31.7 32 27 33 Slovenia 39.2 38.1 30.3 21 32 34 Turkey 36.7 33.0 43.6 Average 59.2 54.5 50.0
  • 10. PwC Golden Age Index Potential boost to UK GDP PwC  10
  • 11. PwC Potential £100bn boost to UK GDP by increasing older worker employment rates to Swedish levels We break down GDP in the following way: Key assumptions • Total employment in the economy is equal to employment within the 15-69 age group. • A full-time (FT) worker is twice as productive on average as a part-time (PT) worker. We took Sweden as a benchmark country as it is the best performing in the EU and calculated the impact on UK GDP if the 55-64 and 65-69 FT and PT employment rates in the UK were equal to Sweden’s. Result If the UK’s employment rates had been equal to Sweden’s in 2013, GDP could have been around 5.4% higher, equating to around £100 billion at today’s GDP values. Since 2013, both countries have seen rising older age employment rates, but the gap between the two remains similar. Higher GDP of this magnitude would boost tax revenues and reduce benefit payments significantly, helping to meet the long-term health, social care and state pension costs of an ageing population (which were recently estimated by the OBR to be over 4% of GDP in the long term). GDP 15-54 FT * GDP per FT worker 15-54 PT * GDP per PT worker 55-64 FT * GDP per FT worker 55-64 PT * GDP per PT worker 65-69 FT * GDP per FT worker = + + + + + 65-69 PT * GDP per PT worker 11 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 12. PwC More older workers should add to total employment and output, rather than just displacing younger workers 12 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index The total number of jobs in the economy should therefore ultimately rise to match the increased supply of labour, with a corresponding rise in output. This is the basis for our calculations of the potential boost to UK GDP from raising older worker employment rates to Swedish levels. This process will be eased, however, if companies can move away from linear seniority-based career paths. This would allow older workers, where appropriate later in their careers, to shift down into part-time or advisory roles, avoiding any possible blockage to the career progression of younger workers. From the perspective of an individual company at a point in time, it might seem that more older workers could just block progression and new job opportunities for younger workers. However, from a longer term macroeconomic perspective, as we are adopting in this study, this should not be the case. This is because people working for longer will have more income to spend, and this extra spending will feed through into increased demand for labour to produce the additional goods and services that these older workers want to buy.
  • 13. PwC Possible lessons from Sweden to promote employment among older workers 13 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index A new state pension regime introduced in the 1990s provided incentives to keep working beyond 65, supported by tax incentives for both individuals and employers. An evaluation by Laun (2012) estimated that this boosted employment rates for over-65s by 1.5 percentage points. Eligibility criteria for disability pensions have also been tightened significantly since the 1990s, reducing a major incentive for early retirement. Policies to keep women in the workforce after maternity (e.g. generous state-funded childcare and parental leave) also seem to be reflected in longer working lives for women. This may also be influenced by evolving social norms. Sweden has one of the OECD’s highest employment rates for older workers, particularly amongst women. This reflects a series of policy measures since the early 1990s to counteract early retirement and support older workers.
  • 14. PwC Golden Age Index Implications for public policy and businesses PwC  14
  • 15. PwC Implications for public policy The PwC Golden Age Index provides a high level assessment of OECD countries’ labour markets and an overview of their progress over time relative to other countries. This analysis can help to identify countries with high scores (e.g. Sweden as discussed above) where there may be useful policies in place that other countries (e.g. the UK or the Eurozone economies) could consider to boost employment of older workers. Governments could consider further reforms of state pension systems to encourage later retirement. Some countries, including the UK and Sweden, are already phasing in future rises in state pension ages, while in others (including Sweden but not the UK) state pension entitlements are adjusted on the basis of expected life expectancy at the time of retirement. The financial benefits of deferring both state and private pensions should be communicated more widely. Boosting employment rates for older women is also particularly important in some countries, which could include measures to allow flexible working around caring responsibilities (whether for elderly parents or grandchildren). Governments could create greater financial incentives for older workers to remain in or re-enter the labour force. For example, as in Sweden, there could be national insurance or payroll tax deductions for employers that take on older workers (as exists for NICs in the UK for younger workers). There could also be higher income tax allowances for workers over 65, as in Sweden, or ‘wage top-ups’ for 60-64 year olds who continue to work beyond retirement, as in Japan. Many pensioners may continue to work (at least) part-time in future. Governments could remove the barriers to continued employment and encourage recruitment of older workers by reviewing current legislation around age discrimination, flexible working and private pensions so they do not incentivise early retirement. Past UK governments have taken steps in this direction, but the Altmann review argues they need to do more to enforce age discrimination legislation and in other areas. Governments could also introduce new training initiatives to improve the employability of older workers. This could include training in digital skills, adult learning loans and some form of retraining-based apprenticeships for older workers of the kind that are commonplace for younger workers in the UK and elsewhere. Job centres should focus on helping with online job search and self-marketing skills. 15 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 16. PwC Implications for businesses Opportunities and challenges Our Golden Age index covers a range of labour market indicators that businesses could take into account when identifying potential business locations. The index also highlights the growth potential for businesses in some countries where employment rates are relatively low for older workers but populations are steadily ageing. Businesses who make better use of the skills and experience of older workers could gain a competitive advantage at a time when their customer bases are also ageing. This will, however, require more flexibility in areas such as job design, role shifts and allowance for the health issues that older workers may face. Companies would benefit from doing a comprehensive audit of their age profile that covers recruitment, retention, training, reward and performance. Age should be treated as an important element in wider diversity audits. Employers may also need to rethink their attitudes to training and development for older workers, so that this does not ‘stop at 50’. This may also include giving senior staff better training in how to manage older workers, which may involve cultural shifts where there is no longer a strict seniority-based hierarchy. Changes in employment legislation for older workers may have significant business implications in relation to issues such as age discrimination and laws around temporary and flexible working for older workers. An ageing workforce may also demand different approaches to reward in terms of the balance between salaries, pension benefits, holiday entitlements, health insurance and other benefits (e.g. allowing career breaks for long-serving older workers). 16 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 17. PwC Golden Age Index Comparison of individual labour market indicators PwC  17
  • 18. PwC Figure 2: Employment rate of 55-64 year olds Employment increased in the majority of OECD countries (including the UK) with the rate in Germany rising particularly rapidly between 2003 and 2013. However, rates fell in Portugal and Greece over this period. Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 18 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Employmentrate55-64(%) Employment rate 55-64 (%) 2013 2007 2003
  • 19. PwC Figure 3: Employment rate of 65-69 year olds The employment rate of this age group varies significantly across the OECD countries from 50% in Iceland to only 3% in Slovak Republic. The UK has shown a clear upward trend over time, but is still below the top performers. Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 19 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Employmentrate65-69(%) Employment rate 65-69 (%) 2013 2007 2003
  • 20. PwC Figure 4: Gender gap in employment for 55-64 year olds (ratio men/women) The gender gap in employment has decreased in most of the OECD countries with the steepest falls occurring in Slovak Republic and Spain (but only modest progress in the UK on this measure). Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 20 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 Gendergapinemployment,55-64(ratio) Gender gap in employment, 55-64 (ratio) 2013 2007 2003
  • 21. PwC Figure 5: Incidence of part-time work for 55-64 year olds The UK has the 4th highest incidence of part-time work for this age group amongst the OECD countries (though this will be what some workers want) Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 21 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Incidenceofpart-timework,55-64(%) Incidence of part-time work, 55-64 (%) 2013 2007 2003
  • 22. PwC Figure 6: Full-time earnings of 55-64 year olds relative to 25- 54 year olds Relative full-time earnings across age groups has remained broadly constant since 2003 in most countries. The UK has one of the lowest ratios here. Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 22 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Full-timeearnings55-64relativeto25-54(ratio) Full-time earnings 55-64 relative to 25-54 (ratio) 2013 2007 2003
  • 23. PwC Figure 7: Average effective labour force exit age The average effective labour force exit age increased in the majority of countries from 2003 to 2013, including the UK, but Mexico and Ireland experienced declines (the former from an exceptionally high level in 2007). Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 23 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 Averageeffectivelabourforceexitage(years) Average effective labour force exit age (years) 2013 2007 2003
  • 24. PwC Figure 8: Participation in training of 55-64 year olds Northern European countries tend to have a relatively high proportion of 55-64 year olds in training. The UK has seen a fall in training participation rates amongst this age group since 2007, but remains above the OECD median rate. Sources: PwC analysis, OECD 24 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 'Participationintraining,55-64(%ofallemployedintheagegroup) Participation in training, 55-64 (% of all employed in the age group) 2013 2007 2003
  • 25. PwC Overall UK performance on the Golden Age index is only middling (19th from 34 OECD countries) 25 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index 01 02 03 04 Close to median performance on employment rates for 55-64 year olds, relative male/female employment rates and average workforce exit ages. Somewhat above median performance on employment rates for 65-69 year olds and average training rates for 55-64 year olds. Below median performance on the share of full-time working for 55-64 year olds and relative full-time average earnings rates for 55-64 year olds compared to younger workers. Overall UK performance has improved since 2003 on most measures except training participation, but by slightly less than the OECD average, resulting in a ranking fall from 16th in 2003 to 19th in 2013.
  • 26. PwC Golden Age Index Comparison with other measures PwC  26
  • 27. PwC There is a positive correlation between the Golden Age Index and life expectancy, implying that countries where people live for longer also tend to have longer working lives 27 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Sources: PwC analysis, OECD, World Health Organisation Australia Austria Belgium Chile Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Italy Japan KoreaLuxembourg Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom United States 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Lifeexpectancyatbirth(years) PwC Golden Age Index (2013) Figure 9: PwC Golden Age Index and life expectancy
  • 28. PwC There is a wide variation in Golden Age index scores across EU countries with similar state pension ages, although there is some (fairly weak) evidence of positive correlation here 28 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Sources: PwC analysis, EU European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2012) Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Poland Portugal Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 EUaveragestatepensionage2012(years) PwC Golden Age Index (2013) Figure 10: PwC Golden Age Index and EU average state pension age
  • 29. PwC The Golden Age Index is positively correlated with GDP per capita within developed economies, but the relationship is relatively weak in statistical terms 29 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Sources: PwC analysis, OECD AustraliaAustria Belgium Chile Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany GreeceHungary Iceland Ireland Israel Italy Japan Korea Luxembourg Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland PortugalSlovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom United States 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 90,000 100,000 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 GDPpercapita,2013(USD,currentprices) PwC Golden Age Index (2013) Figure 11: PwC Golden Age Index and GDP per capita
  • 30. PwC There is a strong, positive correlation between the PwC Golden Age and Women in Work indices, perhaps reflecting common labour market policies and social norms 30 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index Sources: PwC analysis, OECD Australia Austria Belgium Canada Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Israel Italy Japan Korea Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Slovak Republic Spain Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom United States 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0 90.0 PwCWomeninWorkIndex(2013) PwC Golden Age Index (2013) Figure 12: PwC Golden Age Index and PwC Women in Work Index
  • 31. PwC Golden Age Index Annex: Methodology PwC  31
  • 32. PwC PwC Golden Age Index Methodology Variables included in the index Indicator Weight Factor* Rationale Employment rate, 55-64 (% of the age group) 40% 1 The proportion of 55-64 year old workers in employment is the most important measure in our index and so has the highest weight of 40%. Employment rate, 65-69 (% of the age group) 20% 1 The proportion of 65-69 year old workers has half the weighting of that of 55-64 year old workers assuming the 65-69 age group is roughly half as large in terms of population. Gender gap in employment, 55-64 (ratio men/women) 10% -1 Gender equality in employment is included here as lower employment rates among older women tend to be a particular feature of many OECD countries. Incidence of part-time work, 55-64 (% of total employment) 10% -1 Part-time employment may adversely affect earnings, pensions and job security, but this is given a lower weight in the index since some older workers may prefer part-time work. Full-time earnings, 55-64 relative to 25-54 (ratio) 10% 1 Earnings equality would represent equal pay across age groups and could also be an indicator of the relative labour productivity of older workers. Average effective labour force exit age (years) 5% 1 This measures the length of time a worker stays in the labour force before they become economically inactive. However, there is some overlap with other variables such as employment rates so we do not give it too high a weight in the index. Participation in training of 55-64 age group (% of all employed in the age group) 5% 1 This is an indication of how far older workers keep learning beyond age 55, which will be important in keeping them employable and renewing their skills. But data are lacking for several countries, so we do not give this too high a weight in the index. 32 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index *Indicates whether higher values of an indicator are positively or negatively scored in the index
  • 33. PwC PwC Golden Age Index Methodology How does it work? 02 Apply positive/negative factor Positive/negative factors are applied so each variable enters the index with the correct sign (e.g. positive for employment rates, negative for gender gap in employment). 04 Scale the index Scores are rescaled to values between 0 and 100 with the average value across all 34 countries set, by definition, to 50 in 2003. Calculating the PwC Golden Age Index Normalise Indicators are standardised using the z- score method, based on the mean and standard deviation of the sample of 34 countries in a base year of 2003, to allow for comparisons both across countries and across time. 03 Calculate the scores The scores are constructed as a weighted average of normalised labour market indicator values. 01 We used a standard method to construct this index, similar to the one used in the PwC Women in Work and ESCAPE indices, and by many other researchers constructing such indices. 33 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 34. PwC We also tested the robustness of our findings to using some alternative variables and weights We considered including unemployment rates as a variable either in absolute terms for the 55-64 age group, or relative to the rate for all age groups. However, this made the index more sensitive to short-term cyclical trends whereas our focus here was more on longer-term structural issues, so we decided not to include unemployment rates in the final index. This would not, however, greatly change the UK’s relative ranking. We also considered alternative weighting schemes, but these did not alter our key results such as: • Scandinavian countries tending to come at the top of the index together with others such as New Zealand, Israel and Chile. • The UK having a middling rank of around 16-20th among the 34 OECD countries in the index in 2013, generally with some decline over time, particularly in 2003-7. 34 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 35. PwC Contacts For more information about this report please contact: Our Economics and Policy practice offers a wide range of services covering: market reform in a range of industry sectors (including energy, water, media and telecoms, financial services, health and government services); competition policy, disputes and other investigations; economic, social and environmental impact analysis; financial economics; fiscal policy and macroeconomics. For more information about these services please visit our website: www.pwc.co.uk/economics-policy This study forms part of our wider Megatrends research programme: www.pwc.co.uk/megatrends David Tran david.n.tran@uk.pwc.com John Hawksworth john.c.hawksworth@uk.pwc.com Conor Lambe conor.r.lambe@uk.pwc.com Andrew Sentance andrew.w.sentance@uk.pwc.com 35 June 2015PwC Golden Age Index
  • 36. This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and, to the extent permitted by law, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, its members, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it. © 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. In this document, "PwC" refers to the UK member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details. 150429-151615-GL-UK