Europe’s demographic crisis: How to get older workers back into the labour market


Europe’s ageing population is a demographic phenomenon which sees a decrease both in fertility and in mortality rate and a higher life expectancy among European populations.

And the ‘greying of Europe’ looks set to have a significant impact on most aspects of society and the economy.

The European Social Fund is Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities.

“I think we live in a situation where we have a lot of challenges linked to technological developments and the population ageing both in general and also the workforce,” says Deputy Director-General of the EU Commission, DG Employment Andriana Sukova.

“So we need to act. We need to use the funds for helping people…we need to help them find and face new job opportunities but also be ready for new working relations.”

The European Social Fund finances projects that aim to integrate and maintain older workers into the labour market.

“So we have to be very careful about how we plan it in relation to the private sector and the public sector.”The pension system is entirely depending on the policies. “So we have to rethink on how we treat work beyond retirement age, which is sometimes in the sixties and how we do it conditional on the healthy age expectancy.” says Pissarides

Today's Vocabulary

1. demographic (adj.)
relating to human populations and the information collected about them, such as their size, growth, ages, and education

2. mortality (n)
number of deaths within a particular society and within a particular period of time

3. face (v) 
accept that something unpleasant is true and start to deal with the situation

4. fertility (n)
ability to produce young

5. integrate (v)
mix with and join society or a group of people, often changing to suit their way of life, habits, and customs

  1. What is the aim of European Social Fund in financing projects?

  2. What is Europe’s demographic phenomenon?

  3. The ‘greying of Europe’ looks set to have a significant impact on?

  4. Who is Andriana Sukova?
  1. What social problems are associated with old age?

  2. Are older people usually wiser?

  3. Do you agree that you can never be too old to start something new?

  4. Is it important to prepare financially for old age?

  5. In most countries the legal retirement age for men is five years older than for women, even though women live longer than men on average. Why do you think this is? Is this fair, or should it be changed?