Global leaders and business chiefs were warned that the rate at which society is ageing is rapidly increasing, with 2.1bn people set to be aged 60 or over by 2050.
This is a significant increase in the 1bn people who were in this age bracket in the year 2020.
These warnings come at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos. At the event the WEF presented its latest longevity white paper, suggesting that retirement ages across the globe would need to increase by an estimated 8.4 years to maintain the current balance between working-age and non-working-age populations.
This report said governments, corporations and civil society need to prepare for ‘seismic demographic transformation’ to ensure economies and societies remain both resilient and sustainable over the long term.
The WEF said that unless action was taken there was the risk that many people could outlive their retirement savings by between 8 and 20 years. Its highlighted the fact that this was a particular problem for women — with women aged 65 and over receiving on average 26 per cent less retirement income than men.
The report pointed to working longer as a possible solution, adding than between 19 and 25 per cent of adults over 55 indicated that they wold like to work, but are not currently doing so.
Commenting on this WEF report Catherine Foot, director of Phoenix Insights, Phoenix Group’s longevity think tank says: “Increasing longevity demonstrates human ingenuity in healthcare, medical science, and technology. However, this report emphasises that our economic and social fabric doesn’t yet support longer lives — a concern which has been accelerated by decades of declining birth rates.
“An ageing population presents challenges in areas such as financial security, work, skills, health, caring and saving for retirement. In the workplace, more can and should be done to accommodate older people in the workforce – this research shows that internationally, up to a quarter (25 per cent) of people aged 55 and over want to work as they get older but face barriers in doing so.
“The financial impact of leaving the workforce early cannot be overstated, with Phoenix Insights finding that the average wealth for 50-64 year olds who are economically inactive due to ill health is just £57,000, less than 5 per cent of the average wealth of those who chose to retire early in the UK.”
She adds: “Creating opportunities for older workers to thrive in the workplace should be treated as a priority for our economy to adapt to our evolving global demographic reality.
“We need to make radical changes in areas such as financial education, work, skills, health and caring to transform the way we respond to the opportunities of people living longer lives. That means tackling the inequalities which across gender and socio-economic classes. Better longer lives should not just be the preserve of the few, but a reality for everyone.”
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