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IMF Study: Greece's Aging Workforce May Reduce Productivity

old menAn IMF study places Greece in a high-risk category concerning the aging population over the next twenty years. At current rates, the age demographics will not assist efforts to reduce unemployment and increase competitiveness in an environment burdened with high debt and limited fiscal movement.
As if Greece’s problems were not enough, the coming years will see the employment population age so as to reduce productivity. The slump will be felt across the Eurozone, but will be particularly felt in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The study was posted on the IMF’s blog. It notes that there will be an increase in the portion of the workforce aged from 55 to 64 years by 15-20% over the next two decades with direct consequences noted on productivity.
The study points to a number of different theories related to the aging workforce. On the one hand, experience can help make older workers more productive. Nonetheless, health problems may end up worsening the situation. The researchers point out that it is hard to generalize the result of the aging workforce, however, there are indications that workers reach their peak between the ages of 40 and 50 before levels drop.
The countries expected to feel the brunt of the aging population are the ones already facing economic problems, such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The study, however, ends on a positive note by pointing to a number of practices that could restrict the consequences of an aging population and increase productivity. Firstly, improvement to health conditions could aid workers as could programs helping to enhance employment skills and forge new opportunities. Furthermore, a decrease in taxes for casual and part-time work in combination with investment in research would also help to turn around the negative effects.

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