Économie et Statistique n° 368 Society - Older Workers and The Labour Market
How Businesses are Dealing with Ageing Staff
In 2002, as in 1975, slightly over one in five jobs in main-land France were held by seniors, i.e. individuals aged 50 and over. The percentage of seniors in employment started rising sharply in 1996 when the first baby boom generations turned fifty. This trend will continue through to 2006. The weight of seniors in employment is expected to continue to rise after 2006 with the increase in life expectancy and the gradual replacement of the baby boom generations with the smaller genera-tions born as of 1974. However, the magnitude of this increase will depend mainly on the rescheduling of the actual retirement age. The weight of seniors in business varies a great deal. Over one-third of self-employed individuals are over 50 years old. There are also relatively more seniors in the public sector than in the private sector. In the private sector, large corporations and certain service sectors have more seniors. Nevertheless, staff ageing has been present in virtually all the sectors since 1996. One in five private sector establishments with more than ten employees will relatively soon be faced with staff ageing and how to manage this phenomenon. However, there is a difference between the demo-graphic reality and the way in which business managers perceive the ageing of their staff. Few are worried about it and implement measures to prolong the working life of seniors. Although there is no overt discrimination against older workers, many managers continue to stig-matise them with stereotypes regarding their skills and attitude to work. The establishments that address the demographic issue are mainly large units that will soon be faced with the retirement of large numbers of staff. The approach taken by these establishments is not pre-ventive, but curative.