In the future, employers will play a critical role in shaping public policy and addressing these concerns, according to benefits consulting firm Mercer. Challenges of the aging population include:
- significant pressure on pay-as-you-go pension and health care systems;
- expanding expectations for the private sector—particularly employers—to rescue the pension and health care systems; and
- lack of financial knowledge among individuals, as the shift to defined contribution retirement programs has increased individuals' responsibility.
To accommodate an aging workforce, Mercer advises employers to include an assessment of demographics in their workforce planning efforts. Also, consider the following steps:
- Rehire retirees for the busiest periods;
- Establish wellness programs specifically for “mature” employees;
- Implement phased retirement programs;
- Develop talent pools prepared to assume “critical” positions; and
- Implement retention plans aimed at identified “risk-groups.”
Source: “World Economic Forum and Mercer report on an ageing population and the impact on financing retirement,” based on “The Future of Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Ageing World: Scenarios to 2030.” The World Economic Forum report is available at http://www.weforum.org/demographicshifts.