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Further Training for Older Workers: A Solution for an Ageing Labour Force?

Hilal Zboralski-Avidan

Due to changes in retirement and employment policies the participation of older workers in the German labour force has been increasing in the recent decade. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the book examines developments in the training participation patterns of older workers. The author gives special attention to the relations between the rate of training participation and the level of job satisfaction. The findings indicate an increase in training participation, particularly of workers aged 55–59, and imply a positive correlation between the rate of training and job satisfaction.


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2 An Ageing German Society: Implications and Developments


2.1 A New Demographic Era Like most industrial countries, the population of Germany experiences an age- ing process which is projected to accelerate in the following decades due to the large middle-aged cohorts (i.e. post-war baby boomers) moving into old age and later into retirement (Federal Statistical Office, 2009). This development will lead to a dramatic shift in the age structure1 as in the case of Italy and Japan (Börsch- Supan, 2004). Considering projections regarding continued low fertility rates2, a rapid improvement in life expectancy, and an increase in Germany’s balance of immigration and emigration, the number of pensioners in Germany is expected to increase dramatically, thus creating new challenges for the German society3. Accelerating the ageing process is the trend towards earlier retirement which begun in the late 1970s and characterized by a growing number of older German workers choosing to retire early (Börsch-Supan & Schnabel, 1997)4. The availabil- ity of early retirement pension schemes and other programs prior to the official retirement age (i.e. 65 years for both men and women), raised the attractiveness of retirement for older workers, and thus constitutes an important factor in ‘pull- ing’ older workers out of the labour market in an early stage (OECD, 2005a). With the worsening of the labour market situation after 1972, especially due to 1 Age structure at time t is affected by age structure in the previous period t-1. Changes in any or all of the vital rates in the past will influence present and...

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