Across the G20 nations, older workers are increasingly vital to a post-pandemic recovery, according to a new report by ageing policy think tank International Longevity Centre U.K.
Every third dollar is earned by someone aged 50 or older and nearly one in three workers (29 per cent of the G20 workforce) were over the age of 50 in 2018.
This increased share of the job market meant older workers also drove consumer spending, as households led by people aged 50 and older contributed, on average, 22 per cent (more than US$9 billion) of the collective GDP of the G20 nations in 2015. Additionally, spending by households led by older people rose nine per cent from 2010 to 2015, with their market share also rising (from 54 per cent to 56 per cent) during this time.
The report also outlined how making it easier for older people to continue working into their retirement years could increase the collective GDP by seven per cent.
“Older people’s social and economic impact is already significant, but there’s potential to increase this further. The barriers they face are in part avoidable — and the most important is poor health,” said David Sinclair, director of ILCUK, in a press release.
To foster the “longevity dividend,” the report made clear that investing in health care is vital. It noted cost-effective preventative health measures should be encouraged among the G20 nations to reduce treatment costs and support the wider economy.
The onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic has rocked the world economy and highlighted the need for more investment in health care and prevention. “Despite the tragedy and the devastation, COVID-19 has placed society in an exceptional moment to prioritize health and act on ageing. It has shown us how health and the economy are linked and has exposed the dangers of underinvesting in prevention,” said Sinclair.
The report called attention to the importance of leveraging the economic contributions of older people in the global recovery and of addressing health barriers to work for older people.