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Bridging the grey divide: An international perspective on the ageing workforce and longer working lives

Rapid global population ageing is considered to be one of the major social and economic challenges of our time. Numerous committees, scores of official reports, and vast amounts of academic literature internationally have been devoted to the topic in recent years. In Australia the economic challenges associated with an ageing population have long been recognised. Alongside concerns about a growing welfare burden there is much commentary about the potential for shortfalls in the global supply of labour that, it is argued, may act as a brake on global economic growth and have significant implications for an ageing workforce. There are, unsurprisingly, overlaps between the articles. A broad range of supply and demand-side measures aimed at supporting longer working lives are identified, yet the broad picture is one of hesitant and occasionally contradictory policy responses, with limited evidence of holistic or strategic approaches. Significantly, however, it appears from these national policy evaluations that there is a lack of firm evidence concerning ‘what works’ in policy terms that can inform Australian efforts.