Labour market situation of the young raises concern at research conference

How do changes in the labour market and workers’ life course affect the pension provision, and how are pension schemes reformed in different parts of the world?  These questions were addressed at the international conference Changing Labour Markets, Life-Course and Pensions arranged at the Finnish Centre for Pensions in Helsinki on 19 May 2017.

Nearly 130 top experts from different countries gathered to discuss the direction and impact of changes in the labour markets, life courses and pensions. One topic that stood out was the concern for the labour market situation of the young.

Growing inequality within the OECD countries

In her presentation, Dr Anna d’Addio, who has analysed pension policies in different countries at the OECD, highlighted the rising unemployment rates among  the young and their growing poverty risk. According to d’Addio, combining family life and work should be better taken into account in the pension provision in OECD countries. d’Addio estimates that, under current development trends, inequality within the OECD countries will grow. Kathrin Komp, Assisting Professor at the University of Helsinki, pointed out that a so-called “lost generation” is emerging in Europe. In particular in Southern European countries, too many young people are unemployed and have been so for too long.

Professor Dirk Hofäcker (University of Duisburg-Essen) spoke about the growing employment rates among the elderly. In many European countries, the rate has grown clearly in the last two decades. For example, the employment rate of 60-year-old men in Germany grew from 27 to nearly 60 per cent in 2000-2014.

EU migration leading to pension problems

Professor Traute Meyer (University of Southampton) presented a recent study according to which the pensions of work-related migrants relative to the pensions of the original population will be too low in many countries. The issue can turn into a political dilemma in the future.

More about the subject in a video interview with Prof. Meyer.

Investing in education will pay off

Professor Joakim Palme (University of Uppsala), well known also in Finland, reminded the conference audience of the paradox of social policy: if we offer benefits only to those who are the least well off in society, we are unlikely to successfully ease poverty. We need to continue to secure the income at all income levels in order to ensure equality.

In his presentation, Prof. Palme also highlighted a problem in the current discussions on ageing: they focus too much on savings and cuts although investments in education, for example, would improve productivity and boost GDP.

More about the subject in a video interview with Prof. Palme.

Photos: Karoliina Paatos