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Researcher sees ageing changing job structures

NETHERLANDS - The effect of ageing on western economies could mean dramatic changes in job structures, says professor Axel Borsch-Supan of the University of Mannheim.

Labour demand due to changing of the age profile in Europe could mean that every sixth job would be affected in the next 20 years or so. “Health care’s demand for labour could increase by seven percent while the transport sector is predicted to decrease by five percent.”

He said that those over 70 no longer have to commute to work, which is a significant element of transport demand.

The move from the “rocking horse to the rocking chair society” would mean that labour would need to be retooled. He also predicted regional differences within Europe.

He discussed whether there would be a future meltdown of assets as older people released their retirement assets as time but said there was not enough knowledge. This would happen at a time when society needed less capital.

There would also be a decline in savings ratios. There is evidence that the savings ratios do fall after retirement but do not fall to zero.

The Dutch funded system could be associated with actual dis-saving as retirement assets were liquidated but he felt that this overall would be a smooth transition.

Borsch-Supan saw the EU accession and Turkish economies doing well from investment from the developed European economies rather than the tiger economies of Asia. He regarded this as a mutually beneficial development in the relationship between the younger and the older economies.

Borsch-Supan was speaking at the official opening of Dutch pensions research institute Netspar at the University of Tilburg.

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