The low birth rates in many countries inevitably lead to an aging population and shrinking labor force. The burden associated with an aging society and higher dependency ratio will continue to rise. To address the challenges, the governments around the world are looking into options to extend work life and compulsory retirement age, maintain an active economic life, reform the public pension programs, re-engineer job duties to make them friendlier to older workers, and provide vocational training programs to older workers.
Taiwan’s labor force participation rate for people of age 45 to 54 is more than 70%. But the ratio plummets to 55.7% for people of age 55 to 59. On the other hand, the labor force participation rates for this age group in other Asian countries (i.e. South Korea, Singapore and Japan) remain higher than 70%. The labor force participation rate for people of age 60 to 64 in Taiwan takes an even sharper dip to 36.4%, whereas the general rate in other countries stay above 55%. In conclusion, Taiwan’s labor force participation rate for older workers is lower than OECD countries.
The declining birth rate in Taiwan has grave implications for the balance of the labor force and the old age dependency ratio. The aging population leads to a shrinking labor force, making the re-integration of senior population into the labor workforce a necessity. Therefore, development and utilization of senior human resources are of paramount importance to the future well-being of the country.
A regulatory reform to facilitate senior employment has been an on-going process in recent years, as many public programs have been launched to encourage re-entry into the labor force. However, older workers still face barriers to entry into the labor market or other difficulties that impede successful integration. We need to review these challenges, learn from success stories in other countries, and apply new perspectives to systematic improvement. Taipei City, as the capital city of Taiwan, has the duty to serve as a benchmarking example for managing senior employment in an aging or even ultra-aging society. It is hoped that, as international and domestic experts and scholars come together in this event to discuss and brainstorm about these issues, proposals and solutions will be inspired and born out of these very valuable discussions to serve as important reference for policymakers on senior employment.