This article was written by Martine Ferland and published on LinkedIn on 23 January 2020.
The 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is winding down but earlier today I had the opportunity to participate in a unique Mercer WEF event focused on longevity called, “Redesigning Retirement for Longer Working Lives.”
Let’s be clear. Longevity is one aspect of a brighter future for the world’s workforce, so long as organizations and leadership gets it right. It calls for a change of mindset, adapted healthcare and savings programs, more opportunities for continuous learning and, of course, longer careers. It’s a chance for employers and experienced workers to embrace upskilling, reskilling and continuously adapting.
Today’s event was a novel workshop, very hands-on, with attendees discussing persona-specific solutions that will result in a post-Davos package of materials called, “Redesigning Later Life.” It will include today’s findings and provide a plan for testing and developing the solutions, and calls to action to enable them.
There’s no doubt that longevity is a serious social issue. Life expectancies are increasing globally, and children born today are likely to live beyond the age of 100. That’s 10 years longer than my parent’s generation, and nearly 20 years longer than my grandparent’s generation. It’s good that we’re having conversations about longevity at events like the WEF and back in our organizations, think tanks and policy offices, and even with our families. If you’re not planning for this kind of change – what it means, the different thinking and choices it requires, then you might be left behind.
Already, at many of our clients, the ratio of employees 50 years and older compared to the rest of the workforce has doubled in just five years – with people living and working longer, it’s clear much of our world will look much older in the years ahead.
In partnership with Mercer, the WEF examined data for retirement savings, including both government and company pensions as well as individual savings, from eight major economies. In the US, it is expected that people will outlive their savings by almost 10 years. When you look at Europe, the gap grows to 11.5 years, and in Japan it’s nearly 20 years.
Today, we heard from a number of large employers and policymakers in countries and industry sectors most affected by an ageing population. During the event, they crafted practical solutions to some of our identified personas. For example:
- Discovering and tapping into ‘transferable’ skills to kick start moving to a more engaging career or starting a side business. This would extend the motive to work longer.
- Taking on apprentices to jointly develop more sustainable and eco-friendly business models – sharing the later life workload and pressure.
- Tackling stress at work and potential future health issues through accessible and comprehensive education around lifestyle – in order to protect health and wellbeing.
- Building awareness for the self-employed, who often miss out on social security and other benefits through a lack of relevant and timely information.
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