Ageing and employers’ perceptions of labour costs and productivity: A survey among European employers

Purpose: This paper examines employers’ perceptions of changes of the labour cost-productivity gap due to the ageing of the workforce, the effects of tenure wages and employment protect ion on the perceived gap and whether a perceived labour cost-productivity gap affects employers’ recruitment and retention behaviour towards older workers.Methodology: We analyze surveys administered to employers in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.Findings: Approximately half of the employers associate the ageing of the personnel staff with a growing gap between labour costs and productivity. Both the presence of tenure wages and employment protection rules increase the probability that employers perceive a widening labour cost–productivity gap due to the ageing of their workforce. A counterfactual shows that even when employment protection and tenure wage systems are abolished 40 percent of the employers expect a net cost increase. The expected labour cost-productivity gap negatively affects both recruitment and retention of older workers.Originality: The wage-productivity gap is examined by the perceptions of employers using an international comparative survey.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.

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