The Netherlands is insufficiently utilising the potential of elderly people

Golden Age Index 2017

The Netherlands is insufficiently utilising the potential of employees of 55 years old or older. Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) therefore misses out on 48 billion euro of additional growth. If all OECD-countries would increase the labour participation levels of 55 to 69 year olds to that of Sweden, the potential long term gain to economic growth could be two trillion US dollars. This is the outcome of PwC its annual Golden Age Index.

In the past decades, life expectancy has increased further. We do not only become older, but are also more healthy at old age. As a result, we can continue working until a higher age. At times this is necessary, in order to ensure retirement distributions for a lengthier period of time. This, as we tend to life longer after the conventional retirement age of 65.

Working for longer

Working for longer does confront older employees with a great challenge: can they continue to work effectively until an older age and will there be jobs for them? They will have to adapt, as partly due to technological developments jobs are changing rapidly. 

Higher participation of older workers

Participation of older workers in training and education is relatively low in the Netherlands. In addition, some Dutch companies are reluctant to hire older people. They are considered to be expensive, non-flexible and prone to incapacity for work. This collection of aspects, and the fact that employees, organisations and society have an interest in a higher participation of older workers, indicate that responsibility for a solution is a shared responsibility of government, corporations and individuals.

The Golden Age Index is a weighted average of various indicators. Labour participation, earnings and training attended are among others, indicators that show the impact of employees older than 55 years on the labour markets of OECD-countries. 


Jan Willem Velthuijsen
Chief economist PwC
Tel: +31 (0)88 792 75 58

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