Towards a Longer Worklife!

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1 Towards a Longer Worklife!

2

3 JUHANI ILMARINEN TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! Ageing and the quality of worklife in the European Union Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Helsinki

4 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) FIOH Bookstore Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A FI Helsinki Finland Telephone +358 (0) Telefax +358 (0) Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and Juhani Ilmarinen Translation Georgianna Oja, Jaakko Savisaari, Kati Savisaari Graphic design Arja Tarvainen Cover photographs above Jaakko Heikkilä / Gorilla, below Henrik Sörensen / Gorilla The copying of all or parts of this book is forbidden according to copyright law (404/61 and any changed versions of 404/61) without the explicit permission of the copyright holders. ISBN (hardback) ISBN (PDF) Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy, Jyväskylä 2006

5 Contents Preface To the reader Challenges created by changes in age structures Worklife must be lengthened for the sake of society The revealing rates Birth rate and life expectancy in the European Union About fertility Effects of age structures on workforces Life expectancy Will the number of healthy years increase? Will worklife become longer? People over 65 years of age and the prediction of dependency ratios Global ageing: true or false? Global ageing: true or false? Employment rates Part-time employment Temporary employment Unemployment Challenges for age policies International age policies United Nations Recommendations of the International Labour Organization Recommendations of the World Health Organization Adjusting work to meet workers changes European Union s active ageing policy Finnish age policies State authorities in search of solutions to the problem of ageing Government policies on changes in the age structure of Finland The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health challenges current practices Finnish state-of-the-art model: national development programs National Programme on Ageing Workers Pension reform a stimulus for worklife reform Report on the future: Finland for people of all ages Report on globalization: a competent, open and regenerating Finland

6 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! Evaluation of the new age policy of Finland OECD evaluates the age challenges in Finland Does the pension reform extend careers? Do Finnish workers intend to extend their careers? Work and work ability as predictors of intentions to retire Employers and flexible retirement Needs for reform in worklife Management reform from the point of view of ageing workers Why must management be understood in a new way? Proposals for action Remodeling attitudes towards age Research on the causes of age discrimination is necessary Worklife must adjust to the course of life Course of life Course of worklife Shifting from education to worklife (18 25 years) Combining family and worklife (25 35 years) Changes in worktasks and employers (35 45 years) Changes in personal resources (over 45 years) Changes in family and close communities (over 50 years) Changes in attitudes towards work and retirement (over 55 years) Leaving worklife and shifting to retirement (over 60 years) Management expectations in different phases of life Course of life among the baby-boom generation Successful ageing in worklife utopia? Age information through research Age management is based on knowledge of the effects of ageing The many faces of ageing What does ageing mean? The many human ages Maintaining work ability Dimensions of work ability Effects of ageing on work ability Work ability maintenance and development for ageing employees Research interventions to improve work ability Economic benefits of work ability maintenance Health risks affect productivity

7 4.4 Economic aspects of ageing Additional costs to society from ageing False conceptions about the costs of ageing employees Costs of inexperience Ageing and health Perceived health Long-term illnesses Chronic symptoms Functional capacity and ageing Sensory functions Sight Hearing Balance Physical functional capacity Body structure Aerobic performance Production of force by the neuromuscular system Motor ability Physical activity Mental functional capacity Mental growth Cognitive capacity and work ability Social functional capacity and ageing Education and learning Educational level of ageing people Participation in adult education Contents of adult education Educational level of the working population in the European Union in Predictions of the educational level of ageing employees Ageing employees and life-long learning Supporting learning Age management as everyday practice Effectiveness of age management Age management as a part of strategic management Visions of age management Practical model for developing age management Practical toolbox for the immediate supervisor

8 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! 5.6 Examples of age management Epitest Ltd Oy Länsilinjat Oy Abloy Oy Age management in small and medium-sized enterprises A cautionary example of the lack of age management Age policy at different worksites Ageing workers health and quality of life Quality of ageing workers worklife Physical work environment Noise Vibration Impurities in the ambient air Physical load Poor work postures Handling of heavy loads Factors explaining the handling of heavy loads Repetitive work Mental demands Computer use Tight schedules Sources of tight schedules Complex tasks Learning new things at work Regulating one s work Taking breaks Order of worktasks Work methods Workpace and amount of work Summary of the possibilities to regulate one s work Situation in Changes during Comparing older and younger workers in Job requirements in relation to skills Supervisory work Did employee supervisor discussion lead to improvements at the workplace?

9 6.1.7 Workhours Over-40 hour workweeks Irregular day work Shift work Ageing and shift work Factors explaining workhours in the European Union Age discrimination Summary of the situation of over-45-year-old workers in the European Union in Has the situation of over-45-year-old workers in the European Union improved during ? Will the health of ageing workers endure in the European Union? Hearing-related problems Vision-related problems Musculoskeletal problems Psychosomatic symptoms Stress symptoms Absenteeism Occupational diseases in the European Union in Disability in the European Union in Recreation and hobbies of the ageing population Physical activity Course participation and other learning activities Cultural activities Is it possible to continue to work in the same job at 60 years of age? Working at 60 years of age: the significance of health and work in the European Union Criteria for a good worklife in the EU regions Towards a better worklife Where can funding be found for a longer life? Many conceptions and procedures must be changed The gap between knowledge and action Recommendations Recommendations for workplaces Recommendations concerning the personal resources of ageing employees

10 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! General recommendations and recommendations associated with society Recommendations for developing the worklife of employees over 45 years of age in the EU member states Development targets for men over 45 years of age in worklife in the EU15 countries Worklife development targets for women over 45 years of age in worklife in the EU15 countries Appendices References

11 Preface Extending the human lifespan is one of our most important social objectives. We have also been very successful. The life expectancy of men has increased phenomenally over the last 30 years. Life expectancy has increased by 1 year every decade. We are extremely happy for this increase and hope that this development will continue also in the future. The extended lifespan has been accompanied by an increase in the number of years people have with good functional capacity. People are more fit during old age than ever before. At least in principle, the need for nursing and care is delayed as much as lifespan is extended. Does this also happen in reality? It is essentially dependent on whether we are able to organize care according to changing expectations and improved functional capacity. Together with the extension of the lifespan, another social development has taken place. People have desired more free time. Daily, weekly, and yearly workhours have become shorter. This change is not enough, however, to explain the development. The length of the work period within the course of life has also decreased. The time required to obtain an education has increased, and people have moved into worklife later than before. This change is understandable, since increased productivity has been made possible only by improving competence. On the other hand, the question can be asked of why improved work ability has not extended people s worklives, respectively. Only about 20 years ago, a general lowering of the retirement age was discussed. It was not implemented, but other means of early retirement were offered to employees. Only during the last decade have determined actions been taken to increase the retirement age. Changing the prevalent mindset and turning the trend around have been challenging tasks. The expertise developed over the years in the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has been of great help. Several prejudices have been proved faulty, and, at the same time, it has been proved that it is useful to invest in work ability. Investing in work ability is a long and exacting job as is the research on functional capacity. Luckily for us, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has been active in good time. Special merit for advancing research on the relationships between work ability, functional capacity, and age must be given to Professor Juhani Ilmarinen. In this book, which has been financed by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Juhani Ilmarinen has multifacetedly and thoroughly illustrated the facts associated with ageing, information from different countries, and the possibilities to change the development. This book is a valuable tool for researchers and people making practical decisions both in enterprises and in government. I believe that it offers commendable assistance for the development of both worklife and social security. 11

12 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! I thank Professor Ilmarinen not only for this book itself, but also for those gentle, yet gutsy measures that he has used, over the years, to force his readers and audiences to relinquish their faulty assumptions about age and accept the fact that we need people of all ages. Helsinki, 14 December 2005 Markku Lehto Permanent Secretary To the Reader Research shows that the interest of the large generation of baby boomers in continuing in worklife depends more on the atmosphere of their workplace and their supervisors than on the size of their pension. Accordingly, the attitudes and methods of operation concerning ageing must be improved both in Finland and in the other European Union (EU) member states. Many aspects of worklife and attitudes should be changed, but there is very little time to achieve the needed changes, especially among the baby-boom generation. An extended career has been promoted by reforms in the pension system and by several other actions in the EU member states during the beginning of the 21st century. Worklife has not, however, been extended as wished in several countries. New and more effective means are needed. Several national programs were initiated in the 1990s and 2000s in Finland to improve the appeal of worklife and to keep ageing workers in worklife, projects that have provided ample knowledge that can be shared with other countries. This handbook compiles the essential parts of that information and experience into one presentation. It offers material for different agents to distribute information and offer training on age management. I also hope it will spark new projects and studies. The most important force for change is the workplace Workplaces will ultimately affect how the age challenge is received and how successfully practices will be changed. Together the employer and the worker form a team that can change age practices and methods of operation. International cooperation, states, governments, ministries and local organizations, research, insurance, rehabilitation and training institutions, and occupational health care and safety professionals create the requisites that help the ageing workforce to cope and motivation to be maintained in workplaces. They offer resources, training, information, and other support to ensure that the positive experiences that have been acquired are distributed as broadly as possible to improve workplace atmospheres and good results. 12

13 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Acknowledgements The commission of the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its VETO program (promoting the attractiveness of worklife) initiated and made possible the creation of this book. Many thanks for this go to Markku Lehto, Permanent Secretary, and Ismo Suksi, Project Manager of the Veto program, who also supervised this project, and to Rolf Myhrman, Deputy Department Head. The Director General of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), Harri Vainio, supported this project, and the 3-month leave of absence I was granted from the post of Director of the Department of Physiology enabled me to concentrate on the writing process. I especially want to thank my colleagues at FIOH: Dr Jorma Seitsamo, who analyzed the European survey data, Ms Maija Jokinen, who produced the hundred and so figures and tables, and Ms Leena Roisko, who compiled and wrote the reference list. I was given valuable assistance with the literature search by Mr Keijo Halonen, and Mr Timo Haaponen provided important aid with respect to information technology. The book was edited by Virve Mertanen. Her precise and critical comments and suggestions and editing and re-writing of the text improved the readability of the book considerably. Arja Tarvainen did the graphic design for the book. Anne Raninen compiled and constructed the index. To all these people I wish to offer my warm thanks. Many experts offered comments on parts of the manuscript and provided me with valuable advice. I would especially like to thank the following persons: Professor Guy Ahonen from the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration Hanken; Dr Harri Lindholm, Professor Matti Ylikoski, Professor Veikko Louhevaara and Dr Anne Punakallio from FIOH; Ove Näsman, Chief Occupational Medical Specialist at Dalmed Ltd; and Hannu Jokiluoma (Chief of Development), Erkki Yrjänheikki (Negotiating Officer) and Marja- Liisa Parjanne (Negotiating Officer) of the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. I owe special thanks to the compilers of the examples of age management in enterprises: Laila Malinen, Epitest Ltd; Terhi Penttilä, Länsilinjat Ltd; and Pia Viklund, Abloy Ltd. I was able to acquire summaries of the Let s Build Work Ability Together project through the aid of Ms Eva Tuominen and Ms Elina Wilenius of FIOH. This book is the result of the cooperation of numerous persons. Similar cooperation is necessary to solve the age challenge. Although I feel my mission is to support and defend ageing workers, it is not because they are weaker or more vulnerable than other age groups or because they would need special protection. On the contrary, they are a genuine resource which strengthens our well-being 13

14 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! if we are able to use their strengths. And the only thing that can limit their use is our own attitudes. Structure of the book Helsinki, 28 November 2005 Professor Juhani Ilmarinen Finnish Institute of Occupational Health *** The first chapter of this book explains why worklife needs a new type of charisma and management methods. The subsections depict the challenges that the changes in age structures will bring with them within the European Union (EU). Fertility, life expectancy, employment and its different forms, and the dependency ratios will affect the EU member states more than the other countries among the western democracies. The second chapter introduces both international and Finnish age policies, such as the need for reform in worklife, redefining management, and renovating attitudes towards age. The human course of life, of which worklife comprises a considerable proportion (often the 25th through the 65th year of life) is examined in Chapter 3. It emphasizes the fact that worklife can have both positive and negative effects on the fluctuations and transitions of the course of life. The end of the chapter evaluates whether it is possible to age within worklife. The fourth, substantial chapter is about the facts of ageing. It creates a base of information that enables a person to change his or her views on ageing and improves the ways in which ageing workers are treated in worklife. The fifth chapter deals with management and its significance: good age management (i.e., the fair treatment of workers of different ages) should become a part of everyday leadership. Some examples of enterprises show how this can be achieved. The sixth chapter of this book is a broad introduction to the quality and changes in European worklife. The aspects of quality are depicted and analyzed from the point of view of over-45-year-old men and women. The section on workers health and leisure-time activity, on the other hand, depicts the physical condition of the workforce and whether workers will be able to cope at work at the age of 60 years. The seventh chapter summarizes the previous data into the form of recommendations: what should be done to ensure a better and longer worklife. Recommendations are given for ageing workers, workplaces, and society. At the end, the prerequisites for improving worklife in the EU15 countries (the first 15 countries to enter the European Union) are introduced in tables. 14

15 CHAPTER 1 CHALLENGES CREATED BY CHANGES IN AGE STRUCTURES 15

16 CHAPTER 1 CHALLENGES CREATED BY CHANGES IN AGE STRUCTURES 1.1 WORKLIFE MUST BE LENGTHENED FOR THE SAKE OF SOCIETY 1.2 THE REVEALING RATES 1.3 EMPLOYMENT IN DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

17 1 CHALLENGES CREATED BY CHANGES IN AGE STRUCTURES The great generation of baby boomers that followed the Second World War from 1945 into the 1950s has been the backbone of today s Finnish workforce. It has enabled Finland to develop into a prosperous and, in many ways, exemplary welfare state. In 2005, the baby boomers were 55 to 60 years of age. In the 15 years that will follow, approximately , about 40% of the current workforce, will exit worklife. As a consequence, approximately jobs will become available in the industrial sector and approximately jobs will be open in the construction industry. The proportion of people over 65 years of age will increase to 25% of the population by The Finnish workforce is predicted to decrease by about 0.35% every year. The growth of the economy is threatened because there will not be enough young workers to replace those that retire. We may be facing a workforce shortage. Ageing affects us all: individuals, enterprises, organizations, and also societies. Everyone takes a personal stand on it, workers in their workplaces as nurses, supervisors or, for example, as policymakers. Ageing is also a global phenomenon for which both developed and less developed countries are searching strategies for survival. The situation for Finland and its age strategies are, therefore, significantly influenced by the common policies agreed upon in the European Union (EU), for example. The problems, solutions, and objectives of individuals, enterprises, and society are presented from the point of view of the responsible parties in Figure 1. The solutions and measures are forms of age management. From the point of view of the individual, age management means managing oneself and participating in the realization of age management on one s part. From the point of view of enterprises, age management presents sets of actions for the needs of people of different ages, and, from the point of view of society, age management depicts the control of age structures by compiling effective actions into entities. Official statements and means of control, as well as the setting of mutual goals, are necessary, but they alone are not enough. In addition, if the appeal of worklife is to be enhanced, worklife must be remodeled. The most important objectives would be to increase the years of active worklife and to make work more attractive. For these objectives to be achieved, the changes that are taking place in worklife must be better managed, and well-being in 17

18 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! Figure 1. Ageing and work, a challenge for everyone. INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES SOLUTIONS AND MEANS OBJECTIVES AND RESULTS Functional capacity Health Expertise Work motivation Work ability Work fatigue Unemployment Age management Strengthening of physical, mental and social resources Promoting health Developing expertise Controlling transitions Participation Improving functional capacity Strengthening health Improving expertise Improving work ability Reducing work fatigue Improving employability Reducing risk of marginalization Improving quality of life ENTERPRISE Productivity Competitiveness Absenteeism Transition resistance Work community Work environment Accessibility of workforces Age management Individual solutions Cooperation between age groups Age ergonomics Pauses in work Flexible workhours Part-time work Surgical training Improving whole productivity Improving competitiveness Reducing absenteeism Improving management Expert personnel Improving image Reducing unemployment costs SOCIETY Attitudes towards work and retirement Age discrimination Retirement age Work disability Dependency ratios Retirement costs Health care costs Age management Altering attitudes towards age Preventing age discrimination Developing work legislation Developing retirement security Developing contribution regulations for pensions systems Reducing age discrimination Increasing retirement age Reducing retirement costs Reducing unemployment Reducing unemployment costs Reducing health care costs Increasing the national economy Strengthening the welfare society worklife must be enhanced. Equality must be promoted and the demands of work and the other sectors of life must be fitted together. All parties, enterprises, and their personnel, as well as society, are, therefore, responsible for the successful consolidation of ageing and worklife. Even though the threats may seem to differ for the different parties, they are, nevertheless, part of the same phenomenon. There are no shortcuts to an improved society comprised of different ages. Progress is generated by changes in the work cultures of enterprises that create a new sort of worklife that is better-suited for workers of all ages. 1.1 Worklife must be lengthened for the sake of society Society is concretely affected by the problems and challenges of the ageing population. People are retiring too early, dependency ratios are becoming an increasingly heavy burden, and costs of retirement and health care are growing. Ageing also challenges the sufficiency and quality of social and health care services. At the same time, public administrators must look at ageing from the point of view of the employer, since civil servants are starting to retire in large numbers. For these reasons, it is necessary to create positive attitudes towards a longer worklife and to prevent age discrimination in society. Even though the lifespans of people have been increasing significantly during the last few decades, the length of worklife has not increased respectively. 18

19 1.2 THE REVEALING RATES At the same time, there are many reasons why people have favored exiting from worklife before normal retirement age. Too, the reduction in birth rate that has taken place during recent decades has made the dependency ratio increasingly burdensome. There are fewer and fewer payers, and the young adults of today enter worklife much later than the large generation of baby boomers did in the 1960s. It seems that, even in 2005, as many people do not work as those who do work. The ageing of the population and workforce creates serious economic and social implications for Finland. The costs of retirees health and care-giving services are rising. In addition, the demand for these services is increasing at the same time that the shortage of providers is becoming critical. According to an estimate of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), the public costs of ageing will rise in Finland by 27.9% of the GDP (gross domestic product) by 2050, when, in 2000, it was 19.4%. All of these factors combined have generated a great deal of pressure to create an environment in which people are able and willing to continue to work longer. Provided that the large generation of baby boomers exits worklife prematurely, as did the generations before them, Finland faces a threat, since n n n n n economic growth will decline and the foundation for funding public costs will collapse the services of the affluent society will shrink and fall into decline the burdensome dependency ratio will prevent the development of society and its competitiveness it will be necessary to raise taxes or increase loans or both the standard of living of future generations will decline. Once again, society imposes great pressure on the generation of baby boomers. While it is true that they have a crucial role in guaranteeing well-being in the future, it is important to realize that a longer career in worklife can also be promoted by making it easier for younger generations to enter worklife and by preventing unemployment and gaps in employment. The best solution to date seems to be to extend the period of worklife of the baby boomers and their successors. 1.2 The revealing rates The ageing of the population and workforce is a result of both a reduction in birth rates and an increase in lifespan. The differences between regions and countries are affected, for example, by immigration. This chapter presents an overview of the population of the European Union (European Communities 2004). 19

20 TOWARDS A LONGER WORKLIFE! Birth rate and life expectancy in the European Union About fertility The total fertility rate portrays the average number of babies born to fertile women. It also indicates whether a population is being regenerated or not. The expected total fertility rate should be at least 2.1 in developed countries if their populations are to be constantly regenerated as desired. In 1965, the total fertility rate of the EU15 countries (the first 15 countries to enter the European Union: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Finland, and Sweden) was 2.7. By 1995, it had dropped to 1.5, after which it remained somewhat stable until This trend indicates that the population has not been regenerated for almost 10 years (Table 1, Figure 2). On the other hand, the average age for giving birth has increased among women. The reproductive age of women is generally perceived to be between 15 and 49 years. In 2002, the average age for women to give birth was over 29 years of age for the EU15 countries, and for the EU25 countries (the first 25 countries to enter the European Union: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) as well. This figure had risen by 1 year since The average age for giving birth was the highest in Ireland and the lowest in Lithuania. The situation in Japan was somewhat similar to that of the European Union, but women with children in the United States were a couple of years younger. Nevertheless, the figures indicate that the average age for giving birth is relatively high in all developed countries (Table 1). Effects of age structures on workforces The changes predicted for the number of 0- to 4-year-old children in the EU15 countries in indicate that the proportion of young people will increase only in Ireland; in all other countries it will decline. The decreasing trend will be the strongest in Austria (16.8%) and Italy (15.9%). In Finland, the number of young people will have declined by approximately 10.4% by 2020 (Figure 3) and by 18.7% by At the same time, the number of 15- to 64-year-olds in the EU15 countries is expected to grow, especially in Ireland (19.9%) and Luxembourg (10.4%), before 2020, but to decline in many countries. The decline will be the strongest in Italy (7.6%) and Finland (5.7%) (Figure 4). It is believed that this trend will continue until at least 2040, at which point the workforce will 20

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