Our society is ageing, and with it the working population. According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), people over the age of 50 already make up one third of the working population. FSO forecasts show that this share will peak at almost 35% shortly before 2050. Over the coming three decades, the over-50s age group will represent by far the largest domestic pool of workers and specialists available to the Swiss economy. This pool must be tapped into as effectively as possible to avoid a worsening of the skills shortage over the next few decades.
In particular it is worth noting that more workers are now leaving the Swiss labour market on grounds of age than the number of young people joining it. This demographic development means that rising demand for specialists is compounded by a declining working population – a situation that may well aggravate the skills shortages in specific sectors and professions.
Older people in the workforce thus play a vital role in covering the growing demand for skilled labour. Creating good working conditions and removing negative incentives and barriers to working beyond retirement age are key objectives of government skilled labour policy. The policy also focuses on the reintegration of older employees into the workforce, since these people have more trouble than their younger counterparts when it comes to finding a new job.