COVID-19 and the Ageing Workforce: Global Perspectives on Needs and Solutions

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 has a direct impact on the employment of older people. The World Health Organization has started a worldwide campaign to combat ageism and has called for more research and evidence-based strategies that have the potential to be scaled up. This study specifically aims to identify solutions to combat the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the global ageing workforce. Methods: To combat the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the global ageing workforce, Wwe present 15 case studies from different countries and report on what those countries are doing or not doing to address the issue impact of COVID-19 onfor ageing workers. • Results: We provide examples case studies of how COVID-19 influences older people’s ability to work and stay healthy, and examples of what governments, organizations or individuals can do to ensure older people can obtain work, maintain or expand their current work. Case studies come from Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US). Across the countries, the impact of COVID-19 on older workers is shown as widening inequalities. Achieving health equity is stunted by having a large proportion of older people working in the informal sector who are often lower education and from rural areas in Nigeria, Thailand, and China. Solutions presented vary between funding support to encourage business continuity, innovative product and service developments, community action, new business models and localized, national and international actions. The case studies’ presented solutions also fit neatly within the effective strategies that have proven to work to reduce ageism: policy and law such as laws to increase benefits to workers due to lockdown (most countries); educational activities such as coaching seniorpreneurship (e,g, Australia); intergenerational contact interventions such as younger Thai people who moved back to rural areas sharing digital knowledge with older people and older people teaching the younger generation farming knowledge. Conclusion: Global sharing of this knowledge among international, national and local governments and organizations, businesses, policy makers and health and HR experts will further understanding of the issues that are faced both by society, organizations and older people. This; and will facilitate the replication or scalability of solutions as called for by the WHO to combat ageism in 2021. We suggest that policy makers, business owners, researchers and international organisations use the presented case studies and build on these by investing in evidence-based strategies to create inclusive ageing societies and workplaces. Such action will thus help to reduce ageism, inequity, improve business continuity and the quality of life of older workers.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Keywords

Ageing, COVID-19, Health Equity, Employment, Planning, Workforce, International, Solution

Citation

Pit, S. W. et al (2021) COVID-19 and the Ageing Workforce: Global Perspectives on Needs and Solutions. International Journal for Equity in Health,

Rights

Research Institute

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)